Mending/Poem for Seth Walsh
I had the idea that the world’s so full of pain
it must sometimes make a kind of singing.
— Robert Hass
Every day people wake with spines in need of mending, nights spent
spooning absence. There’s no sense in cursing at the barista for the
chew of grounds in your latte. Sometimes it’s impossible to get a job
right, especially early mornings, especially when there’s a frontier
of people impatient to leave you. You’ve miscarried jobs before. A
belayer, you made sure the man put his harness on snug, told him if
his foot slipped off the fidgeting cable, you’d hold him flopping around
in the treetops. One foot in front of the other, the stuck pulley, you
should have noticed the slack was too much to save him, no point in
the care you put into the knots. He didn’t slip or sue you. Call this
grace if you can believe in grace today. The news didn’t say what kind
of knot the boy tied. His parents found him with his freckles still on.
It doesn’t matter what kind of tree as long as the boughs were strong
enough to bear him. Perhaps you could’ve moved to California and
told him a faggot is a bundle of twigs, but who’s to say he wasn’t ready
to set himself on fire? Or, you could’ve told him the kids meant he was
a fancy stitch that binds delicate fabrics, old lace to silk, but it’s hard to
feel fancy while bees swarm your eyes. But sometimes the dictionary
is useless, which is what you tell your dad when he says that in Merriam
Webster it says marriage is between a man and a woman. And you don’t
mention too much gin grinding your body against your roommate’s
or the small of a younger woman’s back in the morning but bring
home a law-school-boy from a good family to plan your future over
strawberry pie. The boy probably didn’t drink coffee yet. He might
have grown to make chewy lattes too slowly. Maybe he’d never learn
to sew, hem his pants with staples. What must be true is this: if a boy
hangs from a sturdy branch alone, if wind swings his limbs for hours,
it makes a sound here.
Stevie Edwards is a poet, editor, and educator. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Good Grief, was published by Write Bloody in 2012 and subsequently won the Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze in Poetry and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award. Her second book, Humanly, is forthcoming from Small Doggies Press in 2015. She is Editor-in-Chief of Muzzle Magazine and Acquisitions Editor at YesYes Books. She lives in a castle in Ithaca, NY.
Darren C. Demaree is the author of three poetry collections, As We Refer to Our Bodies (2013, 8th House), Temporary Champions (2014, Main Street Rag), and Not For Art For Prayer (2015, 8th House). He is the recipient of three Pushcart Prize nominations and a Best of the Net nomination. He is also a founding editor of Ovenbird Poetry and AltOhio. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.
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