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by Kylan

------for i have taken refuge in you

What can be said in only three short walls.
The soft harnesses of mother and the broadsides
which read, ‘house of order, a house unto—’
Under ‘occupation’ she puts homemaker,
having scraped it from the sides of a barrel
on shot knees, building heat like lashes
of raft. After the pretty shellac houses
in Brookings she was never quite the same—
homes disgracing drift, set by beaches
like blanket luncheons of nails, gable,
cream trim. She puts cradler, bearer-up
of supine gangs. Our coolant of finally
having gotten her attention, and lagging
in the last of it. Allergies? Primary Care
Provider? The hearts of the children
are turned to their fathers. She would cut
through thick pastures of hair, show us
the failing of wing to wing, and how dream
subsides to room. We were wallet-sized,
dug in to advent calendars, raided selvage space,
sedged through the oil for lower lugs of milk. Homes
which meant nothing, had no function, unlike
the ingenious defile of wings. She puts crooner, admits
two packs a day, and a shaky heart history.
She puts up, shacks up, explains to me what
a flying buttress is, a resistance to lateral falling
wall-forces. I meet her in the juncture
between hall and sleep, hunkered under
her chin and droop. She goes into negotiations
for a futon, a night stand, a petty loan,
puts down a list of ongoing conditions,
feeding problems, first day of last normal
menstrual period, history of, how long? Breast
fed: Y N_____How long: __________

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1220 Reviews

Points: 72525
Reviews: 1220

Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:41 pm
Kale wrote a review...

Hello there, Kylan. It's been a while since I've reviewed anything of yours. It might as well be something that hasn't been reviewed yet, yes?

The first thing I'll note is that the colored punctuation you added in for indentations and such are showing, so, even though this is old, you might want to consider updating this piece to remove them. I believe the new editor preserves spacing, so taking advantage of it would be a good idea (if you're still around).

With that said, I'm not sure what to make of this. It's quite muddled, the meaning obscured, especially at the beginning, and while such obscurity does make sense for the subject of this piece, I felt that in some places, you tried too hard to make things more obscure than they already were. For example, the phrase "building heat like lashes / of raft." is one of those instances I felt you tried too hard to make things more obscure than they already were. Raft lashings aren't part of a lot of people's common knowledge as it is, and so inverting the words feels like just that little extra bit that takes trying into the territory of too hard.

You have a few other phrases and phrasings that feel quite pretentious, which, considering the subject, they should not be, and I found that they really weakened the poem overall. The piece doesn't really gain momentum up until the homemaker line, but by then, the first three lines would probably have scared away most readers with their opaqueness.

The ending lines are the strongest for their clinical simplicity, combined with the negotiations. They painted the clearest picture of her situation and her struggle, which I felt was what the rest of the piece was trying to do, but didn't quite accomplish due to density and obscurity.

Basically, I think this piece would really benefit from a bit less obscuring and more highlighting through simplicity.

Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.
— Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart