V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





Is to exercise a kind of cheerful
futility, a que sera sera fatality
not unlike making the bed each morning,
in full knowledge of the imminent chaos.
So you get that blank canvas briefly
on a still November day, or in
a light-filled bedroom through the quiet noon,
on which to draft the dream of green and puzzled
spring, of sleep, or sex. So you have
redrawn the careful boundaries with each
snapped sheet, each long pull of implement.
No one will decry negligence,
abandon, disregard for law. But all
you have is blisters, aching back, dirty
linens in a pile.

                               I remember
once when I was small enough to be
contained inside a bushel basket, my mother
paid a penny for every basket full
of leaves I toted from her small piles
to the larger mound where it would all be
burned. I made a dollar that gray November
day. And she, exhausted clearing the tree-filled
acre plot on which our gabled farmhouse
stood, absently drew the rake
across the box of wooden matches, lofting
them into the smoldering heap, igniting
the mass anew and sending flames from one
pile to the next. A fire truck came.
This, I thought, is what can come from raking
leaves if one is lucky. The yard once drawn
in tidy quarters, now a battle map
of blackened grass for starlings to inspect.
My mother with her hand to lips, beyond
apology, astounded at her work.


© by Lynnell Edwards


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