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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Poem-a-Day DBF countdown: Chelsea Rathburn

The Aug. 26 cover story "Monsters of Poetry" puts the spotlight on the poet's art to preview the fourth annual Decatur Book Festival, to be held Sep. 4-6. This blog will count down the days to the festival by posting a poem each day by a different writer, to let the verse speak for itself. First up: "The Lies We Told" by Chelsea Rathburn.

"The Lies We Told"

As soon as they were voiced, they disappeared,

rooting underground, away from light.

How easy to think that we were rid of them.

But sometimes, in our stillest hours, we hear

a thump in the attic or a rustling in the wall

and imagine our betrayals nesting close.

Once I found a half-chewed cord, exposed

nearly to the wire. Once you swore

you saw a tail dissolving round a corner.

For a while then, we live in our peripheries,

sure that we’ll stumble upon one any day,

creeping along the rafters, burrowing in the crawl space,

if we are only unlucky enough,

or if we stop believing the things we say

and look at the evidence of who we are,

people who seek shadows, who love the darkness.

(Originally appeared in Barrow Street.)

Chelsea Rathburn is the author of The Shifting Line and the recipient of a 2009 fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Decatur.

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