Thursday, October 8, 2009

Metaphor: Melissa Stein

I was thinking more about my imaginary course, "Description," when it occurred to me that metaphor was one of the most potent forms of description. In Melissa Stein's super-sensitive poem, "Hinges," the title word is remarkably described.


You opened the door. Forced it back
on its hinges, drove in the thin wedge, saying

"I may need to enter at a moment's notice."
But don't you know that metal has memory, alive

the way rising dough resists a probing finger,
or trodden grass springs up against the foot's imprint.

Even flesh that retains the rare bloom of a bruise
soon lets it go. You keep these iron plates apart

so long they rust apart, flaking
into the slightest breeze, and still,

they remember what it means to rest
against each other, folded like wings.

(Bellevue Literary Review, fall 2009.)

The whole poem is metaphor--the struggle between an intruder and the "hinges," which seem human, virginal, once hidden and secret, angelical.

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