“Then She Was Forever”
How many drafts of this poem did you write before going to the final? There weren’t many drafts of this poem, mainly because the nature of found poetry is such that the words can’t change—so either the poem works or it doesn’t, and when a part of it isn’t working then whole lines have to come and go in order for the sense of the poem to be maintained. I have two writing groups, so both saw the first version I wrote. I believe there were three or four drafts altogether, though, and the group that meets more often saw all of those drafts.
Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why? Probably the second stanza was the most emotional one. It took me a while until I found what felt like the right juxtaposition between sinking and jumping, since for this poem the two acts are inherently related to each other. Then, when I realized the double-meaning of “spring” and how it worked as both a catalyst and as a result, I knew I hit the emotional core of the poem because “the stubborn urge to leap” is physical and mental, and it’s desired and feared: a quick act with permanent consequences. I was startled by the complexity of that revelation and all the trauma that goes with it.
Then She was Forever
she stands naked,
does not dare to move. Now,
the stubborn urge to leap
uncurls again—this spring—as if the world
Into papery silence
there are only shadows blowing,
a sigh, a stretch,
despair, a space scooped cleanly from desire.
Springing and releasing,
off in a burst—a pyre to scatter its scars—
the way dreams do
from the one clean leap of light,
(suicide is the word I say).
Blood stayed on the ground till it rained.
“Looking For Sunsets (In the Early Morning)”
by Cindy Hochman