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two minus one

10/02/12 , , , , ,

this poem by gregory sherl gives me chills every time i read it.  sherl focuses on a part of life that most people dread.  and how he talks about it, using writing that’s so rich with life that it lets you smile without losing an ounce of pain (which is something that speaks me).  thanks to poem-a-day for this:


Two Minus One
by Gregory Sherl

for Maple

She called to say she lost it. She wasn’t pregnant long enough for the leaves to go crisp, toasted almost brown. They were still gold, still burning themselves orange. I don’t understand I said out loud & between the joints in my fingers. We should call the police, file a missing person’s report. I’ll put flyers around the blockI’ll find her. I have a flashlight, canned food that’ll last for months, a backpack that straps around my waist. I have beard stubble. My eyesight has been perfect since birth, so spread open-I’ll climb inside. In the nighttime, they keep the lights on at cemeteries so the dead can find their beds again. Some things stay too small ever to be buried. I’ve got the police on speed dial, but how do you pick out your embryo? It was there just hours ago. They put jelly below her stomach. There was an agreement that something was inside her: ghosts shaped as shipwrecks barely moving. Leaving nature we still keep it. My favorite part of the future would have been my daughter’s ears studded like the buds of chrysanthemums. I couldn’t pick out a linden tree in a police lineup, if the lineup went linden tree, parachute, Boy George, maple tree, orange grove-so how would I pick out my embryo in a lineup that went embryo, embryo, polar bear, embryo, winter? What did your embryo look like? Like the cover of a book no one would read. Like gleaming.


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2 notes

  1. life rewind 2012: must-reads | atolemdro reblogged this and added:

    […] two minus one: this beautiful poem focuses on a grief no one wants to face by embodying what it means to smile through pain. […]

  2. james arthur “goodnight moon” | atolemdro reblogged this and added:

    […] two minus one | exploring black fatherhood | driving to the […]

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