Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mark W. Nettles - One Poem


Listening is always a challenge by the light of a big screen moon,
so he nods a feigning validation
as the ticker settles the score.
And the Cubs have won four in a row,
but lost their shortstop to a groin tear…
Still, can’t this be the year?
The craggy voice drags him back with sneering disapproval,
“What did I just say?”
then staring at her volcanic wall of basalt,
he repeats and gets it right.
But correctness will never do when lackluster empathy leaves
a bride jilted
with only angry sharpness to carve
the days away,
and away, far away.
She is a quarry of tension most evenings,
fissured and chipped by their children.
Later this weeping granite of a woman
is so cold
and distant
in the bed light,
but still she sparkles quartz-like amid the covers,
her crystal-white thigh
betraying seductive dreams.
If only he could sculpt a ravishing Venus de Milo,
beckoning breasts minus rejecting elbows,
but it is his arms that have fallen away,
flaccid and frightened by her frigidness.
So each night he sleeps
into the memory of a malleable maiden,
responsive to his hands,
and each morning like a shipwrecked sailor
he dreams,
clinging to his rock.

Shuddering at his hardness,
she slips sighing from his covering
into a darkened hall,
but returns with reluctant quickness
to don protective garments
against chill morning air.
The impression of his vertebrae against the sheet
greets her,
the cliff face of his back
revealing a fossil of the man she once knew.
She falters in her sleepiness,
but ultimately grabs her robe,
leaving this man-mountain
for a downstairs cup of coffee.
Bright gold bands and even brighter smiles shine
from a wedding frame on the shelf,
but the approaching sun will pull
shadows across the dull and barren face of day.
Soon he will rise to stooping
and roll out of the bedroom
like an avalanche
to hide
and suffocate
all feeling.
Then off to work he will plod,
and she will wonder if
this might be the time he forgets to leave pebbles
marking his way home,
so he can be fattened up by some witch.
But here in this moment,
alone in her darkness,
she truly wishes
she could go up and find his boulder rolled away
and the tomb empty,
a resurrection of the stone dead.
Then she might turn
and see a man who would finally ask her,
“Woman, why are you crying?”

Mark lives in the Louisiana countryside with his wife, two daughters, three dogs, and two chinchillas. In addition to being a writer of fiction and poetry, he is a full-time graduate student, part-time teacher, and part-time whatever else he can do to make an honest dollar. He has published in Spectra, the brave little literary magazine at LSU-S,, and other small workshop publications, and some of his evolving ideas about creativity and existence can be found at .

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