March 31, 2015
Imposition of Form on the Natural World

Do this, as if it’s easy. Write the letter.

Words placed and replaced will scribble the page

with black footprints along trails that converge

and split like false paths in leaf litter.


This isn’t news, you know

That last twist of thought is the least

surprising detail. Papers on the desk

in front of the open window


suddenly rise and circle, shuffling

blame in the turns of a breeze

that sifts all the pages and then releases

them in two armfuls to settle


on either side, unreconciled. What good is it

to hear I told you so? Those words

like four hard raps of knuckles on one’s head?

A rock hammer can strike off granite


chips in a series of blows if someone

needs to shape stones so they’ll butt together,

but a hit at the wrong angle

can shatter the best rock along


a hidden fault. A neighbor outdoors

is making a garden path with black-flecked

slabs. Now and then, a curse. Indoors, at this desk,

someone’s writing. Fitting, breaking. Furious.


–Jayne Marek (Johnson County)

This poem previously appeared in the author’s Imposition of Form on the Natural World, Finishing Line Press, 2012.


Me with brick background reduced

Jayne Marek has had poems and photographs in reviews such as Gravel, Blast Furnace, Flying Island, Lantern Journal, Siren, Spillway, Driftwood Bay, Tipton Poetry Journal, Isthmus, Windless Orchard, and the anthology And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana. She has a chapbook, Imposition of Form on the Natural World (Finishing Line Press), and is co-author of Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House). She is Professor of English at Franklin College and lives in Greenwood.

Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem from an Indiana poet every day in April (hand-selected by Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras). Check in daily to see who is featured next!


Posted In: Poetry

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