Poetry Side Quest: Without Judgment – Anna Fitzgerald

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Poetry Side Quest: Without Judgment - Anna Fitzgerald
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Welcome to our poetry sidequest!

 

 We hope you enjoy our poem of the month! If you have any comments or suggestions for future featured poems, please contact us at: creativequesters@gmail.com

For information about the author, see below the poem.

 

The Poem:

Without Judgment  by Anna Fitzgerald

A “girls’ lunch”
is how I word my invitation,
grateful when you accept
my show of ease. I insist
on driving us,
then glance your way
when we arrive, I
am eager for what is mine
to hold another’s gaze.
But your eyes are on the sky
between the trees above my house
at the edge of an indifferent little town.

The house came furnished,
I think to say, then don’t,
hoping the table, lonely
but long, will convey
some sort of worldliness.
And my fickle, freckled dog
atop the small sofa,
some sort of society.

The silences
of new acquaintances we fill in
mostly. Then you see
the ballet slippers
in the corner,
just a little too visibly
prim, and I know from your voice
when you ask about them,
the question I’ve obliged you
to ask, that you’ve decided
not to like or dislike me.

I am delighted.

You withhold judgment
and keep me looking out
from a vastness eerily bright
when not eerily dark,
its inward pull so strong
I have to dance toward the world
to keep my balance.

Then I’m calling you late
one night, my voice foreign
and wild. I’m locked out
of what you’re in, too removed
to hear its cues. You find me
in the emptiness of my house,
raving about quitting the world
for the world inside my head,
and you watch me, wordlessly,
without judgment.

My next call is mixed up
with the jangle of their keys
as they lock me into their world,
its slowed bodies treading down
pale hallways. “I don’t
have my slippers,” I say,
“my dancing shoes, and the judge
has asked to see me dance.”
I am barefoot, wearing the pajamas
they found me in.

You understand. I have shoes
on my feet when I see
the judge. He judges,
looks down at
me, frowns, and says
I can’t be free
for a while. But you
come back, without
judgment and the world
comes back and settles
quietly around me, closer
this time. I no longer
strain every cell
to reach you there,
because a bridge
is building between us
in its own beautiful time.
At last, I have someone
who will see me through
my dance, my dance
at the edge of the world,
like it or not. 

About the poet:

Anna Fitzgerald is an American translator and writer born in 1976 who lives and works in southern France.

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1 Comment

  1. Mrs Sylvia Clare

    Lovely powerful poem by Anna, beautifully read. Thanks for this project. xxx

    Reply

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