‘Gebed’: gedicht van Laura Kasischke

't Vuil op de voorruit en 't sproeiers spul helemaal leeg, zo
rijden we samen verder in een zon-grijze ruit van vuil
en stof. Mijn zoon

zet de passagierszetel zo ver als mogelijk achteruit, sluit
zijn ogen. Ik draai mijn raampje open voor een beetje
frissere lucht. Het is zo

ongelofelijk fris daar buiten.

Regen, voorbij.
Plassen achtergebleven
in greppels. Zwarte spiegels als we passeren

er in weerspiegeld, meen ik, maar ik
moet daarvoor oversteken en knielen langs de kant
van de weg om het te weten.

Dag voor de boeg-

geen reden om hiervoor de radio
te laten spelen.
Het huis waarin wij gewoon waren te leven

bestaat nog
op een snapshot, waarop
het vergeelt in het plakboek van een andere familie.

En een man op de fiets
rijdt naast ons
al een lange tijd, heel gezwind, tot hij tenslotte

hij kan ons niet bijhouden-

maar voor hij wegglijdt
achter ons, groet hij ons
met zijn linkerhand-

een geheugensteuntje:

dat iedere aparte seconde-
dat iedere gevangene in de dodencel-
dat iedere naam op elke grafsteen-

dat overal waar wij gaan-
dat iedere dag, zoals de deze, mag
zijn zoals de deze, zal
zijn zoals elke andere, nog nooit geweest, nooit

eindigend. Zo
dank u. En, oh-
Ik vergat het bijna te zeggen: amen.

The windshield’s dirty, the squirter stuff’s all gone, so
we drive on together into a sun-gray pane of grime
and dust. My son

puts the passenger seat back as far as it will go, closes
his eyes. I crack my window open for a bit
of fresher air. It’s so

incredibly fresh out there.

Rain, over.
Puddles left
in ditches. Black mirrors with our passing

reflected in them, I suppose, but I’d
have to pull over and kneel down at the side
of the road to know.

The day ahead—

for this, the radio
doesn’t need to be played.
The house we used to live in

still exists
in a snapshot, in which
it yellows in another family’s scrapbook.

And a man on a bicycle
rides beside us
for a long time, very swiftly, until finally

he can’t keep up—

but before he slips
behind us, he salutes us
with his left hand—

a reminder:

that every single second—
that every prisoner on death row—
that every name on every tombstone—

that everywhere we go—
that every day, like this one, will
be like every other, having never been, never

ending. So
thank you. And, oh—
I almost forgot to say it: amen.

“This prayer of thanksgiving was inspired by exactly the things I put in the poem: the ordinary drive with my son beside me in the passenger seat; the man who rode his bike beside us and saluted us; the weather and the sense of stability and gratitude for stability I had at that moment; the sense that things were going to last and be preserved, if only in memories and snapshots, glimpses of recognition passed between strangers, or between human beings and what felt, at that moment to me, like a benevolent creator who deserved some acknowledgment, even if we are really, all of us, on death row, even if the immortality I felt I got a glimpse of might have been the kind of immortality one achieves having had her name chiseled onto a tombstone. But, I had a lovely glimpse of eternity there, for a minute.”
—Laura Kasischke (in ‘Poem-a-day)

Foto Léonard Misonne collectie

Laura Kasischke was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI. She received an MFA from the University of Michigan in 1987.

In 1991, she published her first collection of poetry, Wild Brides (New York University Press). She is also the author of Where Now: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2017), which was long-listed for the National Book Award; The Infinitesimals (Copper Canyon Press, 2014); Space, In Chains (Copper Canyon Press, 2011); Lillies Without (Copper Canyon Press, 2007); Gardening in the Dark (Ausable Press, 2004); Dance and Disappear (University of Massachusetts Press, 2002); What It Wasn’t (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2002); Fire and Flower (Alice James Books, 1998); and Housekeeping In A Dream (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1995).

She is the author of the short story collection If A Stranger Approaches You (Sarabande Books, 2013). She has also published ten novels, of which three have been made into feature films.

She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as several Pushcart Prizes and numerous poetry awards. She teaches at the University of Michigan, and lives in Chelsea, Michigan.

Bezoek:

https://poets.org/poem-a-day

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/laura-kasischke