Thursday, February 29, 2024


Rorschach Test          

Kari Gunter-Seymour

Consider daffodil blades
in the
crackling cold of February,
those green thumbs up
breaking through earth’s rind,
obliterating doubt—what’s left
of winter suddenly endurable.

What tethers us to the tentative,
to contingencies, to the life force 
we are designed to abandon from birth?

I am reluctant to call it destiny, knowing 
too well which neuroses rush forth
from that word, sifted through lobes
and sockets to lubricate our worry.

Listen—there are things to love
about failure too. Sometimes
we make mistakes, call them coincidence,
trapped like thirsty sponges
between memory and the moment,
our imagined selves the deal we make.

Aren’t most of us in fact still children
mishandling oversized bodies,
echoing songs seeded in our mind’s eye?                 

We pump our legs on a playground swing,
avoid the dare to jump, the grass
beneath our feet heeled to death,
the slaughtered ground a pit of sharps
and flats, scars the shape of shattered       
hearts stamped into our elbows and knees.

* * * * *

"Rorschach Test" is part of Kari Gunter-Seymour's poetry collection Alone in the House of My Heart.

Kari Gunter-Seymour is the Poet Laureate of Ohio and a 2021 Academy of American Poets laureate Fellow. Her poetry collections include Alone in the House of My Heart (2022), A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen (2020), and Dirt Songs (2024). Her work has been featured on Verse Daily, World Literature Today, the New York Times and Poem-a-Day.

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