from “The Tatters”

I can get at the drawings or language of making things: instruction manuals for building fires or cookbooks for explosives or poisons. I have found out why we stand tall and who the commanders of the great ships are. I have learned the story of the microscope and of birds which dress in blue and purple, of how to read a sea shell. I have read of Monsters of the Land and Sky, from the crumbles of a 19th century text. I commit to memory views from penny postcards of sights I’ve never seen and actions I never witnessed; like the great swans of Long Island in the wild, or the skyline of Manhattan as seen from the deck of a paddlewheel steamer. I am impressed by cancelled postcards from the plains of a sod house or from a museum of corn.

Copyright @ 2014 by Brenda Coultas. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 15, 2014.