“A Confession of Lies”
Elizabeth Macklin, A Woman Kneeling in the Big City (1992)
No, it isn’t needed: this blue sky, the two exact trees
Where they are—green ash, blue pine. The seas can rise
To within an inch of the buildings but will not,
Ever. For now, like them, my words can be trusted.
There is no need for a doubt. We will not die.
We cannot keep the woods from receding north
To a cooler horizon. Red, white, and yellow
Trash will escape our hands to go into the water.
A glowing, new coal will escape our lips and go down
Through time in the water, to come up a cool, gold
Drink. The truth: We aren’t eager to die. We
Turn all our acts to good. We think and desire
Alike. Whatever we start we complete. We don’t
Let our anger loose. All earth
Is as wide and dear and clean as when I was small.
Whenever I lie, I tell a truth.
Elizabeth Macklin has a new poem in the June 4 New Yorker.
More poems from A Woman Kneeling in the Big City