Public Poetry, Kevin Walzer's meditations on poetry, publishing, business, and other creative pursuits
Kevin Walzer, a poet, poetry publisher, husband, and father.
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Site design: Skeleton
Beneath the colloquial surface of Leatha Kendrick's Second Opinion is a life-and-death struggle: a battle against cancer. The quiet tone of Kendrick's poems reflects a determination to find what is worth living for, to find brightness in even the darkest days: the underlying gravity makes the poems' appreciation of the daily rhythms of life that much more poignant.
Consider this poem:
Christmas, Adolescence, Yin and Yang
My first love called them Skeeter and Bite.
Equal, then, if small. Skeeter got most
of his attention. Now that right
breast's shadowed, a dark harbor
to what will not differentiate, but does
its incessant adolescent dance. Light
and unseen shadow. Eye of light in darkness,
eye of darkness in light--two nipples
staring from one divided chest. They'll lift
one out, the eye sewn shut by mastectomy.
At this festive time of year, God's breast
sees all, bears all. His eyes never
shut. Mary suckled Jesus, and
in some theologies, the milk
of human kindness flows
from His chest. At any rate,
that yearning to reach down and lift
someone to the heart does not depend
on breasts (I'm grateful to the man
who told me this, his eyes dark with grief.)
And yet, I lie abed touching the soft weight
splayed from breastbone to underarm and wonder
how we'd treat these dugs, these tits, if God Herself
floated forever and ever Amen in Heaven above
with lovely, heavy, downward-reaching breasts.
Mixing humor and spiritual yearning, this poem encompasses many of the strengths of Kendrick's wonderful collection.
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