Linda Benninghoff

"No one Can Discover the World for Someone Else"*

Listen to Audio Version read by Jill Khoury.

You read Agatha Christie mysteries,
I read Dostoyevsky and Dickens,
yet when we came together
and heard guitar, you knew
the words to the songs, the strung-out,
helpless meaning. No one can
discover the world for someone else.
Some mornings I wake up almost blind,
and nothing is mapped for me.
It was that way when we were young,
the trees shivering with grief
in spring, because of the cold,
because they knew their blossoms
could not last forever. You told me
of your first car, your first accident,
moving here to be near your mother,
her dying, your meeting me.
Sometimes flutes trill like
birds in the songs we listen to
the old songs. I cannot predict
what world you will discover
now we are separated. I look
at the muscles of trunks and branches
of trees. Sometimes lighting strikes
one of them, a tall oak, and
it falls across the trail,
I hear it, see what legacy is left,
the new wood, the branches like arms
that once took many birds.

* * *


Listen to Audio Version read by Jill Khoury.

I quit fishing when I was in my twenties,
and it was as if I had no feeling for fish,
their lame flapping, their squiggled flights
in air for flies. Yet I could see their
beauty, and my pet fish shone tropical
from the tank--as if everything living
had a soul, and the world was made up
of emotions, eyes, tails, lungs, the
refraction of air. When I lost you,
my voice dragged. I had never been
imprisoned, but now I lived within four walls,
going up a stairs to get water, having no vision
but like the flying fish I saw in the ocean,
one leap, one joy, then back to becoming
what was hidden, and I was free of my illness
in that body of water, part of some deeper world
I could not see or find.

*First published in f-f Verse Virtual.The title is a quote from Wendell Berry

Linda Benninghoff attended Johns Hopkins University where she was an English major. She has a Masters in English with an emphasis on creative writing. While living in Baltimore, she trained to be an advocate for the disabled, and used this skill when she worked as a journalist. Her full-length poetry book Whose Cries Are Not Music was published by Lummox Press in 2011.