A good poem brushes against…

colorA good poem brushes against us and leaves its scent on our skin. We read it and feel the tug in our blood. And each time we return to this poem, the day flavors it differently. What we are thinking about just before we read it is seen through its lens.

Mineral Violence by Quinn Latimer

The vast sadness of my family
is an ocean rehearsing its sorrow
against the intractable night.

By light we are careful, bruised
and beautiful as script, hair tangled
from evening’s beating. We stoop

to inspect the night’s debris
and do not recognize black
half-hearts of shell (that are ours),

wool of kelp. The jetty’s battered
knuckles count the endless waves
rolling in. Watching birds drawn

as graphite on sky, we forget
our night deaths. I do not understand
this, nor our strange thick hair, only

that I am of it. Wheat of my mother,
father’s beard of bees: I am their
provided. O mineral violence

release their salt traffic, their
hovering at sea. I will exist.
Give them what they want.


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