Monday, February 1, 2010

Day #4: Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Hear Aimee Nezhukumatathil read "Overwinter"

Or click here for a link to the Mp3


We have been waiting out the winter
             for eight years.              I don’t pretend
                          to talk for you                           or my neighbors—
             but I have been given                                        permission
to speak              on behalf              of mollusks, insects,
                          and various wily birds.              This is the price
             and the              pleasure              of a new president:
those who were hushed              now feel
                          like they can finally                           chatter and natter—
                          flex wing              and leg freely.                           The clutch
             of snails on the fencepost              near
                          my house can finally                           unclench
             retreat to               damp underboards
                                       of                           tool shed.              And I have it
on good authority                           at least one
                          spicebush                           and three swallowtails
             have promised              to arrive              a few weeks
earlier from their Southern                           holiday.
                          Those who              overwintered have returned.
                          Those who fell asleep                           are awake.
I myself risk it all:              I climb to the top
of a blade              of grass              the aperture              of my wingshell
             opens and closes                           and opens again.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Fredonia, NY) is the author of Miracle Fruit and At the Drive-In Volcano. She is associate professor of English at SUNY-Fredonia and lives in Western NY with her husband and son.

(Originally posted 1/23/09)


  1. Gorgeous poem, thank you for "those who fell asleep are awake"

  2. Love the form and conceit of this work, and the way you capture the feeling of those who hope, and "risk it all." Great poem. Gabe

  3. You have captured the joy of all living things and the joy of a nation that has been imprisoned by the deceit and underhanded policies of the Bush Administration.

  4. Oh yes, I feel like I am breathing in and out more normally again. I love "climb to the top of a blade of grass" kind of like climbing up to the top of a hill and shouting out "YES" again.

    Inspiring poem -- thank you,

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