Home > Poetry > Taking Possession
Published: Mon Oct 15 1979
Wosene Worke Kosrof, The Inventor V (detail), 2022, acrylic on linen. Courtesy of Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
Taking Possession

It has stopped raining. The bold, astonishing blue jay
outside the window is impossible
to imagine.
Because he is the center of the picture

he will never again take leave of our property. But he awaits
possession. The clothesline
crosses his world with jewelled white bars. His every movement
will be scat

singing. But he does not move. The wooden clothespins are
an unbearably still audience:
what has already been heard of the song. Oh how this jay
does not, will not

move. Whole note
that won’t be struck,
he holds out on us. He awaits the beginning like we await
the end. And before it is reached

it is sufficient to be
a single, crisp, electric-blue tone. . .and to merely sit
in the world, after rain, in early fall
is flight enough. The body is

a peninsula of waiting cast out into the spirit, and the raindrops
still clinging to the lines
await re-collection into the present, a score
that will not begin

to have them. For now is an indoors, a roof over our head,
and sometimes we need never step out again in order to
take full possession of

See what's inside AGNI 10 and 11

Jorie Graham won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1996 for her collection _The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems from 1974–_1994. She is currently the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University. (updated 6/2010)

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