Closure? There's no closure, though you pull the door behind yourself. Don't listen to those people. The instinct is an abstract. Grass, no death. Grass, no wrist. You can only train your free mind in fours. He said in life do not compare contrast. Sky grass, sky grass. Here a healthy voice develops. Your clouds faith like forward freight. They lope young and retrofitted. These atoms mingling or flaring off. I said this explosion of directions isn't that much more than a gravitational force in which the worm and my feet and the plants are caught. What would make you happier might be to nurture help in yourself. Or lift with others a sheet tucked under a body, the body rolled first one way then the other. You'll be glad about the ampersands. You'll be glad you were at bedside.
My father had always said to spread the blankets in the sun.
Sunlight cleans. I had no definite plans for the black-watch throw.
My skin gave off heat, turning amber.
Not cleanliness after all, but heat. The body outlined in a plastic sheen.
The mind inside this late-day glare unfolds from habit.
When I shake out my skin, it's like a color.
Turning over the onion, I notice its copper dome.
The pot full of water, the chicken carcass lowered in, the onion skins
spinning slowly, giving their reasons to the water.
It's like turning over a stone to find a disturbance: you made it.
I cover one transformation with another. There are bones
to fish out of the broth, and someone lying in the next room.
Or I cover one eye so the other works harder: the greens foam
to life in a windy tree. My father covered the firebox
with a sheet of newspaper, a trick to make the flame catch.
Even the nearest anxiety prickles under the surface, until it smoothes.
It's less a memory than a strategy. Or else the memory comes later:
the page lit like a lantern wall, my father pulling that wall back
like a conjuror.
—By Hillary Gravendyk and Cynthia Arrieu-King
Cynthia Arrieu-King is assitant professor of creative writing at Stockton College in New Jersey. Her poems will appear this year in Sonora Review, Forklift, Ohio and LIT.
Hillary Gravendyk joins the faculty of Pomona College this fall, where she will be an Assistant Professor of American Poetry. Recent poems have appeared in American Letters and Commentary, Mary, and Octopus Magazine.