“The mistake is to look for explanations where we should just watch the slow fuse burning. Nerve of confession. What we let go we let go.” ~ Rosemarie Waldrop, from Lawn of Excluded Middle

Anais Nin my own world


Two for Tuesday: It’s All Relative

The Relativity of Sorrow

Mercy is the combing of tangled hair
the sewing up of a split lip
the staying of an execution.
So the prisoner remains alive
until he or she dies a natural death
and the priest returns to say the last rites
one more time like an encore
of rednecks shouting Freebird.
Mercy Mercy Me
sang Marvin Gaye,
but he was shot in the head anyway.
Thomas Hardy only wrote love poems
to his wife after her death. When she lived,
she lived in the attic, closer to the clouds.
Domesticated is such a risk: a false wall,
toothpick fence, the mute swan in the playpen.
Grandpa reading dirty magazines in the outhouse
near to fields of melon and corn
and lynchings in July with blue snow cones.
Or the days of just take the thief down
to the chopping block.
Mercy seat is the resting place of God.
On the Sabbath he sits in the lap of a loving infidel.
When forgiven a heart fractures
into fallow fragments of birdshot.
Having arrived after the hunter,
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
broke the necks of the injured pheasants.
Mercy is the sap of pine,
popsicle sticks stacked to make a palace.
Reading and re-reading the Runaway Bunny
when you’d rather be exfoliating or shopping online.
Mercy is sometimes the smothering with a pillow,
or kindness to an ex. Compared
in some ancient text to a sword

~ Joann Dominique Dwyer


In Dreams

After eighteen years there’s no real grief left
for the man who was my father.
I hardly think of him anymore,
and those dreams I used to have,
in which he’d be standing in a room of people
I didn’t know—maybe his new friends,
if the dead have friendships—
those dreams no longer trouble my sleep.
He’s not in the crooked houses I wander through
or in the field by the highway
where I’m running, chasing down
some important piece of paper,
desperate to reach it
as it’s lifted in the wake of trucks
or flattened and marked by passing cars,
as it’s lifted again to swirl over
a broken wood fence. I don’t know why
the paper’s so important, or if anything
is even written there.
I don’t know where the dead go,
or why it’s good to forget them,
not to see them if they come crowding
the windows or trying to lay themselves down
and press along our bodies at night
and ask that we love them again,
that our sorrows include them once more.
This morning I couldn’t get up.
I slept late, I dreamed of the single
sheet of paper, which I never managed to reach
as it stuttered and soared over the grass
and a few flowers, so that I woke
with a sense of loss, wondering who
or what I had to mourn besides
my father, whom I no longer mourn,
father buried in the earth beneath grass,
beneath flowers I trample as I run.
~ Kim Addonizio


Music by Gustavo Santaolalla, “De Ushuaia a la Quiaca”