The Friday Poem on 18/03/22
We chose ‘Presence’ by Marcia Menter as this week’s Friday Poem because we are suckers for a tidy sonnet, and this one is particularly tidy. We love the half-rhymes, the sonic echo, the compression, and the restraint. It’s deft and controlled while at the same time being tender and deeply compassionate, tightly packed with feeling. We like this poem very much indeed. Marcia Menter says: “It is the literal truth of my experience with Susan’s illness. I wrote it down as a sonnet, and there it was. Her death at the end of October, at age 59, haunts me still. This is her poem as much as it is mine.”
I.M. Susan De Sola
I had to mute my phone and cover the screen
to keep your texts from waking me at night.
Something evil, something you’d almost seen
had breached your dining room and lay in wait —
a waking dream, you said. But it was real,
a malignant presence. And it wanted you.
You wouldn’t go downstairs to get your pills
but sent your husband for them. He said no.
Said it was nonsense. Said it was in your head.
Said you knew better — and of course you did.
The tests were negative. The scans were clear.
Metastasis was possible, but rare.
You almost knew it was in your clever brain.
The minute you turned to face it, you were gone.