Fear of Wonder

Maria Hummel

I want to be the people
in the architect’s model
faceless shapely always
striding beside the shiny
walls girders windows halls
the architect wants us to notice
but he can’t show empty
because then we won’t
see ourselves within it
just as we don’t acknowledge
the cliff edge until sneakers
stub against stone we fight
our own tumble to oblivion
& awe draws the precipice for us
mighty & the earth a dark
planet with fire at its heart

I was talking to a friend
about this & we both confessed
we’d driven the long tree-lined
road & wondered about
twisting the wheel & our fear
was not of the twist but of
the wonder the capacity to be
any self suicidal murdering
adulterous the man who
committed the woman who
severed the child who touched
the live—so why wonder at all?
We can’t help it we see
a window & have to imagine
our reflection across it
twenty-three windblown
right after a laugh & what if
death is just like that
before you know it fully
an empty glass waiting
& you a silent movie
of something pouring out
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro


MARIA HUMMEL is a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry and author of the novel Wilderness Run, a selection of the Doubleday Literary Guild. Winner of a Bread Loaf Fellowship, she has had work appear recently in Pleiades, Post Road, and Crazyhorse.