My poem today (and my two makeup poems because the weekend was pretty and I didn’t wish to be a poet) is a riff on two pieces of writing I came across this afternoon. The first was written in a grammar workbook by one of my students as he was practicing complete sentences. The second was written in a poem titled “Darwinist Logic on Unrequited Love” by Katie Willingham.
“I lost my mind wondering what happened.”
“I like things / that come apart easily // in my hands – dried leaves, clumps of sugar – ”
There are things that come apart
at the gentlest touch
of the finger.
Remember the red spider?
So small you could barely
notice him climbing up
your leg as you sat by afternoon fire.
Still, he was a spider,
and it was your leg.
So you poked him. And the
tiniest little pop could be heard.
You could lift your finger and
no spider was left.
Not even remains.
Not even the tickle of what once climbed up your leg.
Then there are the things
I am terrified to break.
Of the four glasses
from my grandparents’ house,
engraved with a calligraphic F,
only one remains.
Around my home exist
leavings of their lives,
almost all unbreakable (wooden creatures).
The glasses, however, were all that I wanted.
Each time one shattered at my hands
I would stare around the circle of shards
Wondering how it had slowly
rolled away from grasp,
heavy bottomed, short, and yet
my graceless fingers somehow
allowed it to take its own path.
I lost my mind wondering what happened.
Finally the things that cannot and
do not break.
They grow larger at times
and contract at others. They spill over
like a river flood and fill whatever room
they occupy – a gaseous mix of
attention seeking – blend in with
normalcy but individuality
when the opportunity arises.
We don’t pick it apart anymore.
We don’t try to split it when it
takes up space nor must we try
to put it back together when it weeps.
I am twenty-eight and cannot break.
At least it has not happened yet.