MANUAL LABORS

 

 

Paisley Rekdal

Erasures

Another
          necessary tie. Fall,

and the rock reddens
          in its deepening
     as my mind climbs
the cave of limestone.

                    She must be
negation here, finding
          where the patter
     opens divots
and cracks, where a wedge

might peel back
          effort, time
so she can hold what little
          weight of herself

exists away
          from earth, though never

away as rock
          unfolds under the hips
that press up into it.

                    She pinches
          taped fringes in a crack,
leaving a trace where

          the palm rests on it,
     stone gripped, whitened
over the outcrop in a gesture

     so ancient, others
who must have used bits
     like it before her
               rise into sight,

Scrubbing the corn
          into its sheet of fragment,
breaking it down, grinding it
          until the source is but

another streak
          of touch and light.

                                   To say
one world leads
          is the absence of another, this
          is easy and practice
erases fear, there is

no strain here and the canyn
          will always be green where deer

pick their way up the yellowing hillside –

At home, the lover
          With his chemo drip.

Always, wind plays
          At the edge
Of a shirt, ripples cold

up into the body,
           pebbling skin
until it reddens,
                         cracks, widens

Resembles stone.