Poem Composed Entirely From the First Lines of Poems by Emily Dickinson

The day undressed herself like rain. It sounded till
it curved, a darting fear, a pomp, a tear—a science,
so the savants say. Behind me dips eternity, a cap
of lead across the sky. Meeting by accident, the sun

and fog contested. Of course I prayed, not knowing
when the dawn will come. Had I not seen the sun
gathered into the earth as if some arctic flower,
could I, then, shut the door? My maker, let me be—

take all away, take all away from me. These are
the nights that beetles love, these are the days when
birds come back—I cannot meet the spring unmoved,
a slash of blue, the long sigh of the frog. Talk not to me

about summer trees, how many flowers fail in wood.
Ah, moon and star, bring me the sunset in a cup,
blazing in gold and quenching in purple—a light exists
in spring—over and over like a tune. I'll tell you how

the sun rose, lest this be heaven—indeed, I suppose
the time will come—it bloomed and dropped,
a single noon, it tossed and tossed, a little madness
in the spring, trudging to Eden, looking backward.

Perhaps, I asked too large. Perhaps, I robbed the woods.
High from the earth I heard a bird out of sight.
What of that? How dare the robins sing? I saw no way—
the heavens were stitched, a clock stopped. Take

your heaven further on—blossoms will run away.
This is my letter to the world: split the lark and you'll find
the music. Good morning, midnight—experiment
to me. I shall keep singing. Bind me—I still can sing.

Anthony Frame is an exterminator from Toledo, Ohio, where he lives with his wife. He is the author of one book, A Generation of Insomniacs (Main Street Rag Press, 2014) and three chapbooks: most recently, To Gain the Day (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2015). He is the editor of Glass Poetry Press and the poetry editor for The Indianola Review. His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Muzzle Magazine, Rattle, Crab Creek Review, Third Coast, Harpur Palate, The North American Review, and Verse Daily, among others. In 2014, his work was awarded an Individual Excellence Grant from the Ohio Arts Council. Visit him online at (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761