Diane Gilliam Click to

Diane Gilliam is the author of Dreadful Wind & Rain (Red Hen, 2017), Kettle Bottom (Perugia Press, 2004), and One of Everything (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2003). She is the most recent recipient of the Gift of Freedom from A Room of Her Own Foundation.

As if the heart had turned coat
and fisted herself into a knot,
tightwadding breath, blocking off
thought and the light in the kitchen, the road
to the daughter’s house just down the way
and the whole
of the soft,
soft morning in May.

As if the heart were a weapon formed
against you, an enemy at the gate
and not the lone runner from the outskirts
bent under the weight, the gravity of the word
she carried, collapsing at your back door,
the body’s crumple the only
word she can muster.
As if she herself
were not breaking.

As if she were not your own
truest self, there in your kitchen in the morning,
nor the open windows
of your daughter’s house down the road.
As if your heart were not, for you, the whole
soft breath of May,
and everything else
of this world
you’ve known along the way.