Dora Malech (2008)
My friend spends all summer
mending fence for the elk to blunder
back down and the cows to drag
the wires and the snow to sit and sag
on, so all the twist and hammer and tauten
and prop amounts at last to nought, knot, tangle.
The next year he picks
up his pliers and fixes
the odds all over again. There are no
grownups, and I think that all of us children know
and play some variation on this theme, the game of all join
hands so that someone can run them open.
Then war whoops, shrieks, and laughter
and regather together
as if any arms might ever really hold.
I’m trying to finger the source—pleasure of or need
for—these enactments of resistance, if Resistance
is indeed their name. I’m trying to walk the parallels to terminus—
call them lickety-split over rickety bridge,
tightrope, railroad tie, or plank as you see fit—
trying to admit to seeing double,
to finding myself beset by myself
on all sides, my heart forced by itself,
for itself, to learn not only mine
but all the lines—
crow’s flight, crow’s-feet, enemy, party, picket,
throwaway, high tide, and horizon—to wait
in the shadows of scrim each night
and whisper the scene. Always, some part
of the heart must root for the pliers, some
part for the snow’s steep slope.