153.1: Barbara Claire Freeman:: from #343
23 September 2013
Sometimes walking alone at night, I get spooked. I hold my keys like jagged blades between my knuckles. In this way I change my shadow. I penetrate the night with a little threat to keep away and before I know it, I’m home safe. As I read Barbara Claire Freeman’s writing this week, I’m reminded of this feeling. I’m captivated not by the characters but by the shadows they cast on a starless black night. “She,” “he,” “someone,” “we” never completely manifest, though their intentions to impose on the night cause the landscape to shift. The row of pine trees must be kept on the right of an undefined “we,” reminding the reader how we orient ourselves in space by defining our surroundings with relation to our own body’s axis. The smoke hovering far away in this poem creates an image for “you alone,” but despite this, the hill that no one recalls persists. The danger extends itself into the distance in signs beyond the road. This poem neither crosses nor creates a distance—rather it seeks to describe what it’s like for a distance (and a length of time) to exist. And that simply can’t happen without the shadow of a character to move across a field, near a stream, through time. Could it be your shadow? At the end, do you feel closer or further from home?