“The Creation Story” by Joy Harjo
Poetry Lunch S2E7
Reading “The Creation Story” by Joy Harjo from The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, published by W.W. Norton.
I am thinking of houses, and homes, and bodies; how we each inhabit ours differently yet unavoidably.
I can’t remember when I first read this poem but my strong association with the book is slipping it into a tote bag on the way to the ER. Even in emergencies—actually, especially then—I bring poetry.
That day I was the patient, driven by my neighbor who accompanied me through scary and painful proceedings. It is the only time in my life I’ve heard myself scream from outside myself. A very strange experience, followed by the thought: wow someone’s screaming it must be bad and then realizing oh. That’s me. I am that person! After the emergency was tended and pain meds were being pumped through my IV and I was crying inconsolably into my pillow, hooked up to all kinds of machines, my neighbor pulled out Joy’s book and started reading.
I remember the image of a half broken house and instant relief flowing through me. The words eased the medicine into me in a way I can’t explain. It was the most pure experience of relief I’ve ever felt. Better than waking from any bad dream.
So I recommend bringing a poetry book if and ever when you’re off to a hospital. And I highly, highly recommend getting to know Joy Harjo’s work.
Links to purchase: