Poem by Kate Polak

August 15, 2023

Vernal Equinox

I am in love with champagne
naps in the late afternoon after two
hours of therapy that makes me
feel like something has been done,

but isn’t, can’t really be done yet.
The festivals constrained from workdays,
to weekends: it violates the ancient
codes in which the thing is done

at the right time, not the one
that is convenient. This turn
of the earth is on a Monday, day
most-maligned, day for which we

would give many other days not
to have. And yet, how likely she is,
as days go, the sweet, cool breeze
beneath a grey sky soothed to blue

dapples by the time I am driving
home. I had to work today, so jokes
go, but the work was not hard, was
in fact thoughtful and joyful, a coming

together, as every festival making past
time a pastime, wherein we remake
the present as what doesn’t so much
move irretrievably to a foreordained

end, but rather something we recover,
time and again. So many things go.
Another season gone, another love,
another astonishing person who we
never knew well enough. I don’t think
I can believe any more in any eschatology.
Why would anything be an end when
it would be so much more? They come

back. What is heaven but waking? That
madness of finding your way each day,
the maze of it, the bewilderment
of another rousing, another new day,

another carnival that recalls the rhythms
we’ve lived in since before we were human.
In all bewildering’s dimensions: to be
something wild (perhaps more), to be made

something wild(er), to risk some staggering hope
when we all know the year will turn, painfully,
towards dark again. Enjoying the brightening
is not a betrayal of dusk. You can adore devotion

and lust in the same hot breath on the neck,
you can make it mean anything. You can love
the gone as what made the ill-crossed strings
of this fate sweet as honey from the rock. We aren’t

the seemings we’ve been. Every mask and crown
is a chance at what we’ve wanted with the whole
singing howl of the must-do we’ve lived. What
do you want to be unless you grow up?

About Kate Polak

Kate Polak is an artist, writer, and teacher. Her work has recently appeared in Plainsongs, McSweeney’s, So to Speak, Coffin Bell, Inverted Syntax, and elsewhere. She lives in south Florida with her familiars, aspiring to a swamp hermitage.

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