A Most Imperfect Start

Forever the mighty maze inflicts unchangement
a sly wander from the course unchosen.
If once this could have been what reflected continue
what exposed go, what gave most high staring
its relentless give, which all we wish, was a stay of let.
If once this breath-bomb staggered
to show its true stance; then we, collected breathlessly
by time's stammer, would have found reason for change.

The sportsman aligns himself under the object of his catch
his muscles remember the most accurate procedure
The sportsman has a child, a home, a wife he loves but not for long,
a drug addiction behind him, a relapse before him, a diamond ring
waiting to be picked up with the initials of his favorite pet
cast in gold across a wealth of gems. He puts all this
out of his mind, his brain blocks this information as it has been
trained to do when his body reacts to the object, 100 feet in the air.

The object was once a cow hit by a tree unspun by machinery,
a breeze through its branches before twine once decided its future.
The tree meets the diamond ring, the breeze unlocked in the sun
meets the house, the wife catches the object, the child runs the field,
the drugs find the twine, the college scholarship makes contact
with the forest, the sportsman uncaught remains staggered
under the object of his catch.

One day a worm approached a caterpillar, lost on the ground
beneath his tree. That conversation became a butterfly
born of misguided hierarchy. There once was a rainstorm of
repetition showering the trees with apprehension. That raindrop
became an ocean for a country of smaller oceans. Once upon
a time there fell an enormous child who tried to brace himself
on whatever he could catch, he would throw something and
lean against it before it would land.

We each have our function-machines set for body salvation
or emotion-bearers, each of us, in what is laid
for most imperfect starts, most unpounceable hearts.
We are each in the guise of body when least aware of body.
I am continually at wander with the reach of everyone around me.
This motion will cut most unexpected matters
and when most unexpected, what survives will be laid bare.

Copyright © 2007 by Edwin Torres. “A Most Imperfect Start” was originally published in In the Function of External Circumstances (Nightboat Books, 2007). Reprinted with permission of the author.