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Irrevocable Ode

When you finally admit you’re broken,

Can I come back up now? asks the chair

with its leg snapped in the basement

and Don’t even get me started, says the sky.

After a while what always spun can’t

without a raw rasp. Exhausted with tears

and rage, the couple look at each other,

shrug, half a face almost smiling.

Smiling the mechanic coming toward us,

wiping his greasy hands on a greasier rag,

shaking his head. Not no exactly, no

inexactly and one year the waxwings

don’t appear where they always have.

You knock and knock at a door, it won’t

open anymore, the paint blisters and peels

and that too you’ll learn is beautiful.

When Rikyū gave his richest patron

a crude clay teapot, it had already

been broken twice. The knee never heals

and when it rains…. The wife can’t forget

what the husband drunkenly raved,

the diamond cutter his miscalculations,

the contractor thinks if only a few hundred

more rivets, just a couple more thou….

If only I hadn’t trusted or trusted

sooner, if I hadn’t tried to pass on the hill.

Broken vow, broken silence with a coyote’s howl.

And you who didn’t get your cat to the vet

in time, who dozed, who messed up

your sister’s wedding yelling at your mom,

who made a friend cry as a joke, jammed

the disposal with the antique, pearl-handled

spoon, who let someone else take the blame,

spiller of red wine on white rugs,

breaker of others’ bones, parachuter,

big talker, lover of fire, dumb creature

of ice, maybe you won’t be forgiven,

maybe you’ll never find all your pieces,

a new home, maybe you’ll search and petition

and wander until you’re heard from no more.

from Fall HigherFind it in the library

Copyright © 2011 Dean Young
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Dean Young Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.