With the certainty theologians claim
for the salvation worked by Christ—
effects not yet seen,
but the end not in doubt—
some women look back and know
the exact moment they conceived.
He brought me home from the baths
and fed me takeout Chinese. I remember
succulent little bits of egg in rice,
creamy sherbet right out of the carton.
Yes—certainly I felt it—and broke
into a sweat, the exact moment
the charge leapt from him to me.
Was it two years later his best friend called—
could I use his clothes, his shoes, his king-size bed?
Patrick Donnelly is the author of The Charge (Ausable Press, 2003, since 2009 part of Copper Canyon Press) and Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin (Four Way Books, 2012). With Stephen D. Miller, Donnelly is co-translator of the 141 Japanese poems in The Wind from Vulture Peak: The Buddhification of Japanese Waka in the Heian Period (Cornell East Asia Series, 2013). In 2013, Donnelly received a U.S./Japan Creative Artists Program award to fund a 3-month residency in Japan during 2014. Donnelly lives in South Deerfield, Massachusetts with his spouse Stephen D. Miller.
This poem originally appeared in The Charge (Ausable Press, 2003).