Provenance of Fragments

So these were my teeth.
See how few have landed
in a tartar frown. I spot one
eye over the nearest hill,
rolling out a tear duct
in dirt down the other side. I’m dragged
ejecta ray bright across the dusty
waste land where my secondary craters
superposition over prior crimes.
Distant flecks might be fingers
or ribs that once stretched leg-like
for firm ground but now point
geologists to the point of impact.
Their field work deciphers
each note etched starkly white
out of my shorn sheet music.
The melody? A pastoral past
where the shepherd wolfed down the lamb
and sang in belches. On the edges,
debris fields of jumbled messes.
See how some fragments point
The same way? I’ll beggar
new relics from bedrock bones,
Repair softness with riparian
floods from new veins,
and cloth myself in unexplored landscapes,
draped like hide, learned leather,
sutured shut as only lonely can
thread. If it wasn’t for others,
I wouldn’t have all these
bad lands to marvel you
Until the gravity well captures
and brings you down to earth
to obliterate all over me your own
apocalyptic lovely destruction.

#NaPoWriMo 2017 Day 13


I pulled out my copy of Wisława Szymborska’s view with a grain of sand, a collection of my favorite poet’s poems, and found in “Notes From a Nonexistent Himalayan Expedition” a way to start my own poem. I was thinking about the way a person can be left fragmented by an unfortunate past, but finds later in life that some of those fragments are at least aligned in the same way, suggesting a way of putting oneself back together again, not in the original form, but in a new way. My poem rather naturally began to evoke geology and impacts; the other images of music and pastoral poems arrived as I played with associations to impact cratered landscapes. I think ultimately the imagery here is overwrought and a little too cute, but I hope I can play with it more in future rewrites.

Unfortunately, this poem appears in my usual left justified, ragged right form. I don’t play with form much, because I don’t really understand when I should add white space and cesura. I have a book of forms that I’m (very slowly) reading, but I haven’t had the time I wish I had to research and experiment with form like I wanted to this month.


Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files“.