Today is our first poem of na·po·mo 2013 at the dictionary project! We are delighted to have Margaree Little as our first poet this month. Please enjoy her take on oblate.
ob·late (ä-ˈblāt, ˈä-ˌ), adj. [ML. oblatus, offered, thrust forward (in L., pp. of offerre; see OFFER), 1. dedicated to a religious or monastic life. 2. [Mod. L. oblatus; ob- (see OB-) + –latus as in prolatus (see PROLATE): from being thrust forward at the equator], in geometry, flattened at the poles: as, an oblate spheroid. n. a person dedicated to religious or monastic life.
As though by going back to it now it would become clear—or more than that, say what you mean, come right, a resolution of the leaves piling up in the yard, then turning to mulch, behind the house the blackberry bushes taking over the length of the garden. In the summer the bushes thick with berries: she’d go out with a plastic tub to fill, bring it in, and I would think that letting things go like this, if that was what it should be called, was just another way of living, as a monk who also lives alone has chosen a way of living, and so it was okay, how she’d sleep in the afternoon, how when I’d first come in she’d call hello from upstairs, her voice confused at first, tentative, like a child who has learned not to speak out of place. That fall, or rather, that month between summer and fall when I stayed with her, each day was similar to the next, running in the mornings up the road past the green field, the cemetery, the street where an old girlfriend had lived, fog on the field each morning lifting by ten. The house an old house, dark in the living room until evening, though then that room would be flooded with light: a novel, my friend told me once, is about something ongoing. A story is about when something shifts. And a poem, I realized later I’d forgotten to ask, is a poem what is called dissembling? The thick, sweet blackberries in my hands when I picked them, arms and fingers turning dark from the juice. Her small body in the bed upstairs, not asking for anything.
Margaree Little’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA at Warren Wilson College and lives in Tucson.