About this Poem 

"It astonishes me, really, the many ways in which we're vulnerable. 'What's Left' arose from ongoing brooding over various instances of violence, violation, misconduct, and degradation (physical, emotional, environmental, etc.), both close to home and afar. Of course, I'm similarly amazed by the capacity for human resilience, and (sometimes) heartened by how a word might spark the tiny flame that fuels an eventual blaze."
—Katrina Roberts

What's Left (Al-Mutanabbi Street)

Katrina Roberts

Tracery

Not nostalgia but the bluer salt of longing, not sentiment but the smutted sky raining bitter sediment, not our winding blunder down into that wound, not the ash-riddled grotto nor the blood-orange blown-open

Not the mineral rash’s voice dubbed across the final unspooling reel, not that, whatever promise the book held, not what she said or he did or they might next, not that, nor a flitter of birds, hands—lifting a cup, flipping a page, tucking a strand, nor the ear, behind which, filling with each sweet rising note or tinkling descent

Not the delicacy of a single wish, nor the now-cracked face of a once-ticking, once-pocketed watch


Stitch

No filament long enough

No longer meshing, days before and those after, teeth of a zipper left to gape

An idling car, a parked pick-up, who hides in plain light who hides and why, cloaked in a troubled forest of unsayable tint

And which human desire does this resemble, which cosseting vest to cross the heart, which chilled sweat, which strait-jacketed vestment, which surely-numbing drone between temples


Resist

Faith in what

No walls, no shelves

No end to the well’s filling, the far-away sea’s waxy surge in a hole dug by anyone no matter, a relentless urge to pick the itch, the ooze, the scab, the meniscus of every hour finally spilling over, over, over

Nothing
But sound, but imprinted air
No end to the fraught tingle of phantom-limbs forever-after-not-but-there


Scar

Splinters the alley’s new stuttering currency, pocked, crumbling, indiscriminate coinage of returning light, triage of needling memory, a narrow strait to navigate, some beast, uneasy passage of meat into pure spirit, and every anguished ether-shard hive-swarming then hushed

Not silent but charged:  listen...

Every letter, accounted for but in a different more urgent order

Copyright © 2013 by Katrina Roberts. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on August 29, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Katrina Roberts. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on August 29, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Katrina Roberts