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.
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!