“Splashing the oarlocks”


National poetry month has ended, but for me, every day is poetry. I will continue to include poetry as long as it makes me happy.

-Adrienne Rich

the quality of being complete; unbroken condition; entirety
~ Webster

A wild patience has taken me this far
as if I had to bring to shore
a boat with a spasmodic outboard motor
old sweaters, nets, spray-mottled books
tossed in the prow
some kind of sun burning my shoulder-blades.
Splashing the oarlocks. Burning through.
Your fore-arms can get scalded, licked with pain
in a sun blotted like unspoken anger
behind a casual mist.
The length of daylight
this far north, in this
forty-ninth year of my life
is critical.
The light is critical: of me, of this
long-dreamed, involuntary landing
on the arm of an inland sea.
The glitter of the shoal
depleting into shadow
I recognize: the stand of pines
violet-black really, green in the old postcard
but really I have nothing but myself
to go by; nothing
stands in the realm of pure necessity
except what my hands can hold.
Nothing but myself?….My selves.
After so long, this answer.
As if I had always known
I steer the boat in, simply.
The motor dying on the pebbles
cicadas taking up the hum
dropped in the silence.
Anger and tenderness: my selves.
And now I can believe they breathe in me
as angels, not polarities.
Anger and tenderness: the spider’s genius
to spin and weave in the same action
from her own body, anywhere —
even from a broken web.
The cabin in the stand of pines
is still for sale. I know this. Know the print
of the last foot, the hand that slammed and locked the door,
then stopped to wreathe the rain-smashed clematis
back on the trellis
for no one’s sake except its own.
I know the chart nailed to the wallboards
the icy kettle squatting on the burner.
The hands that hammered in those nails
emptied that kettle one last time
are these two hands
and they have caught the baby leaping
from between trembling legs
and they have worked the vacuum aspirator
and stroked the sweated temples
and steered the boat there through this hot
misblotted sunlight, critical light
imperceptibly scalding
the skin these hands will also salve.

quick misreads & misheards


Like most people, I often skim over things to get the general idea without taking in the actual words. The results can produce a little chuckle.

I saw “Conducting a STOP STICKS Campaign” on the CDC website and, at first, quick glance, I misread it as “Conducting a CHOP STICKS Campaign” and wondered what exactly that would be and why the CDC would promote it.

Then someone shared a screenshot of his food-order delivery tracker, which actually read, “Track your order in real-time”, but which I misread as “Track your ordeal in real-time”. (It was Domino’s pizza, after all, so in fairness, it probably was some kind of ordeal.)

I heard someone say “nurture” but could swear she said “neuter”, which would have been more fitting. Nature v neuter. Haha.