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Gabrielle Calvocoressi reads "For Three Days", written by her teacher Marie Howe.

Brought to you by Complexly, The Poetry Foundation, and poet Paige Lewis. Learn more: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/

Gabrielle Calvocoressi:
http://gabriellecalvocoressi.com/
https://twitter.com/rocketfantastic

Poem:
"For Three Days" originally published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. in What the Living Do © 1998 by Marie Howe. Used with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

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Hi my name is Gabrielle Calvocoressi.

We're reading "For Three Days" by my great teacher Marie Howe who taught me a great deal about how to be human both in poems and outside of them.

For Three Days

For three days now I've been trying to think of another word for
   gratitude
because my brother could have died and didn't,

because for a week we stood in the intensive care unit trying not to
   imagine
how it would be then, afterwards

My youngest brother, Andy, said: This is so weird.  I don't know if I'll be
talking with John today, or buying a pair of pants for his funeral.

And I hated him for saying it because it was true and seemed to tilt it,
because I had been writing his elegy in my head during the seven-hour
   drive there

and trying not to.  Thinking meant not thinking.  It meant imagining my
  brother
surrounded by light--like Schrodinger's Cat that would be dead if you
   looked

and might live if you didn't.  And then it got better, and then it got worse.
And it's a story now: He came back.  

And I did, by that time, imagine him dead.  And I did begin to write
   the other story:
how the crowd in the stifling church snapped to a tearful attention,

how my brother lived again, for a few minutes, through me.
And although I know I couldn't help it, because fear has its own language

and its own story, because even grief provides a living remedy,
I can't help but think of that woman who said to him whom she
     considered 

her savior: If thou hadst been here my brother had not died, how she
    might
have practiced her speech, and how she too might have stood trembling,

unable to meet the eyes of the dear familiar figure that stumbled from 
    the cave
when the compassionate fist of God opened and crushed her with
    gratitude and shame.