SD Poets You Should Know: Marcella Remund

Marcella Remund, who lives in Vermillion and teaches at USD, has been writing poems for years but only recently begun publishing.  Drawing on rich religious and cultural tradition, her poems are concerned with language, feminism, and emotion.  Here’s a poem of hers from the online journal Stirring, from Sundress Publications:


I keep this shard in my pocket,
cut glass to remind me of you,
how you came near once,
dim blue light refracted
in a broken cup I refused,
rapt in my own skin,
my eyes unfocused or closed,
and how I felt you hold on,
tenuous grasp on whatever
footing I would spare you,
etching yourself in me,
and how the flutter of you
sent a spark up my spine,
tripped me to sudden weeping
or laughter, and how you left
then, a vapor trail across
the dotted Milky Way,
and how sometimes in sleep I watch
your eyes open, know you know
I couldn’t risk your soft breath,
and so I carry on as if you’d never
come, though deep in my pocket
I finger blue glass knowing
it will split the skin like birth,
knowing blood will soak the seams,
knowing you are the pale light
of a minor constellation now,
or the impulse in
someone else’s sudden smile.
I finger blue glass and feel
the bite of you. It leaves a bruise
like an open blue eye.
This poem is addressed to a “you” who’s never named, except as pronoun, and yet the imagery hints at who that you might be—the “blue glass” could “split the skin like birth,” the you “came near” but didn’t show up, the you was “etch[ed]” in the speaker, though the you “left / then, a vapor trail.”  The speaker comes away “bruise[d].”  To me, this imagery hints that the you was a baby who wasn’t born, either as miscarriage or termination—the speaker of this poem laments that, though she knows she couldn’t “risk” the you, she was too “rapt in [her] own skin.”  The world is complicated—something can happen that is both necessary and laden with regret, and the poetry of Marcella Remund is always concerned with the complexity of emotion and the complexity of thought.

Featured image by Sarah R under the creative commons license on Flickr. Post by Barbara Duffy.

Read about more South Dakota Poets.

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