Two poems from GENERAL RELEASE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD by Donna Spruijt-Metz, Free Verse Editions

General Release from the Beginning of the World by Donna Spruijt-Metz

Free Verse Editions, 2023, 90 pp.


As Moses was dying, we stood poised
to cross over the Jordan,
to finally enter into the land.
For forty years we had wandered
the desert wilderness.
We were tired. We wanted a home,
We just wanted to unpack.

We didn’t think to ask
what we might lose,
what it would cost us to satisfy
this need for domesticity, this need
to be crated every night.

Now, we traipse back
into the wilderness
to search for God, stand
at a precipice, look
for what is unknown, unfamiliar,
uncomfortable. My husband

has turned to intaglio, looking
for that seditious discomfort,
the newness, then the slow mastery
that shifts attention away
from the tools. They fade
to transparent, YOUR hands
reach through them, he briefly
become holy.

—as if YOU had them—

                                                        —after Psalm 86 lines 1-7

unable to eat enough            to feel full or to drink enough
           to feel drunk            currently            unable to hear YOU—

                Could it be            YOUR turn            to listen?

           I place these days            in YOUR hands
                               —as if YOU had them—

I am keeping            a cryolog            —where I log
           all my tears            and all my waiting            for tears

—e.g. today            I almost cried            but I didn’t            feel
           quite enough            —like a failed
orgasm            —so close—            but nothing.

Could YOU lift up            my heavy listening—this unbearable
                     silence            —which I have allowed—

Do YOU hear                      a whisper            in YOUR
                     constant night            —and then listen?


Donna Spruijt-Metz is a poet, a psychology professor, and a recent MacDowell Fellow. Her first career was as a classical flutist. She lived in the Netherlands for 22 years and translates Dutch poetry to English. Her poetry and translations appear in Copper Nickel, RHINO, Poetry Northwest, the Tahoma Literary Review, the Inflectionist Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbooks are Slippery Surfaces (Finishing Line Press) and And Haunt the World (a collaboration with Flower Conroy, Ghost City Press). Camille Dungy (Orion Magazine) chose her full-length General Release from the Beginning of the World (January 2023, Free Verse Editions) as one of the 14 Recommended Poetry Collections for Winter 2022.