A Lesson About the Speaker

A Lesson About the Speaker
Christina M. Rau

These are the facts of the voice of the poem.
The speaker is not necessarily the poet—
though it could be if you could make a good case for it.

So these are not the made up facts
of what unfolded—and if you don’t know them by now,
then you weren’t entitled to them or didn’t ask
or they actually didn’t exist before now
because the voice of the poem
has not been a being before now.

So here are the facts of the story.
Story here could mean fiction or not fiction—
either way, that makes a narrative poem.

Here is the truth of the matter
when truth means within the truth of the poem,
which is not necessarily the truth of life.

So here’s what happened:

The grandmother died. That was a day in a June.
The dad died. That was a day in a January after a June.
The husband disappeared. That was a three weeks later.
Then a mom’s best friend. Then a favorite aunt.
Then a few more. People. Died.

That could all not sound real
but the real story sounds more unreal,
which means the voice of this poem
is the poet
revealing the truth of the poem
as it is the truth of the life

and the truth of life according to
the poem is that survival is life
as is joy and sorrow as is
dying and leaving and feeling
really feeling every bit of it
and realizing it all leads
up to, down to, around to


Christina M. Rau is the author of the Elgin Award-winning sci-fi fem poetry collection, Liberating the Astronauts (Aqueduct Press) and the poetry chapbooks WakeBreatheMove (Finishing Line Press) and For The Girls, I (dancing girl press). Her poetry has appeared on gallery walls in The Ekphrastic Poster Show, on car magnets for The Living Poetry Project, and in various literary journals. Her prose has appeared on Book Riot and in Reader’s Digest. She was named Poet of the Year by Walt Whitman Birthplace Association and Poet In Residence for Oceanside Library NY 2020, and she won the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Creative Endeavors. In her non-writing life, when she’s not teaching yoga or offering reiki, she’s watching the Game Show Network. Find her links on http://www.christinamrau.com