tether

Why Henry Drager is written on my ticket stub, I don’t remember. It must have mattered at the time. An evening art show, dimmed cellos on the mezzanine. His hand reaching, my hand offering. A pencil and this smooth ticket stub. The beginning to this story, lost.

But I remember the upstairs world. Close, but not too close. Standing, appropriately. Viewing the backside of folk art framed to reveal knots and loose threads. One long curl of orange peel becoming the slash in a ruined sky.

And how it is you don’t see it coming, but you know it’s there. No action is lost to the universe.

He was the sort of man to murmur. And I was the sort to laugh: campfires and pine cones. But his voice hinted of cashmere and late dinners. He cupped my life in his–I let him.

And when he read, I listened. He liked the way I didn’t talk. At least for a time, before the language of maps began. Ocean floors and glacial corridors. I traced routes against my palm, breath upon his windowpane. He was stillness; I was roam.

And when I left, I did so poorly. Flip through my head and turn to any page. After this story stops, you’ll learn what I didn’t tell him: I run when I am lost.

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About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit and YB Poetry Journal. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

18 responses to “tether

  1. reading you is like making scrap books out of dreams.. . so beautiful.

    • redmitten

      janelle- good to hear from you, i miss reading you and hearing what goes on inside your spirit. i am so glad this one touched you. thank you for letting me know.

  2. This is beautiful. The thread of emotion runs through every bit of this.

    • redmitten

      john- oh, thank you! i wondered if it could be felt. and wondered how little could be said and yet never lose a stitch of that thread.

  3. Kathleen Kirk

    I connect to that ending.

    • redmitten

      in forest talk, we are supposed to hug a tree when we realize we are lost. but metaphorically, hugging a tree makes it worse. glad to hear you connected!

  4. kmerrifi

    “The language of maps…” Oh, how that resonants with this vagabon poet!

  5. Nidhi

    ” He cupped my life in his”
    Loved the way it’s written! Nice work! 🙂

  6. Sherry, that last sentence is magnificent and devastating. I’ve read it I don’t know how often and every time my heart breaks.
    I owe you a note. Been busy++ but will write soon. Completely agree with what you said about photography.

    • redmitten

      tim- good to hear from you! when i wrote “tether”, i wondered if it was “just me”. your response tells me: no. what is this life we each live, huh? so much to acknowledge and accept. the oy of it all. i look forward to your note.

  7. …and lost dogs always run into the wind!
    ahh, sherry, you poet. i assume you’ve tried these pieces in poetic form too. yes? do you like it that way? you are so f**king good, the poetic form might help others tune in more often. Might help me, in general!

    And
    when I left, I did so
    poorly. Flip
    through my head
    and turn to any page.
    After this story stops

    you’ll learn
    what I didn’t tell him:
    I run
    when I am lost.

    yes, i think so!

    • redmitten

      ah mm! good to hear from you. what i’ve been doing since i started posting in this blog- many of the posts get turned into poems and then published. i agree with you, that the poetic form adds layers and turns that the prose block might not be able to do. last year about 20 of my posts turned into published poems, and this year in april while doing napo- 18 more turned into poems. i trust your ear and you never fail to surprise me and show me something i totally overlook.

  8. Oh, Sherry I’ve been meaning to get back here for days. Lately I can’t keep up with the scrolling posts on my reader, but tether caught my then as it does now. And the photo! The slashed bark of a tree, or, um, I don’t know what but it seems like there’s a secret language etched into this golden rawness. Tethered. The things we’re tethered to and by.

    Viewing the backside of folk art framed to reveal knots and loose threads. One long curl of orange peel becoming the slash in a ruined sky.

    Beautiful.

    • redmitten

      jayne- it’s good to hear from you. i like what you said about the secret language etched into the golden rawness. yes. and yes also to what we are tethered to and also tethered by. sometimes we don’t even know this.

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