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A Poem a Week: “The Weeping Tense”

Excerpt from You May Not Take the Sad and Angry Consolations

The Weeping Tense
for the listeners

There’s too little light in this room. 

I have something to tell you —
lean closer, I’ll write more quickly,
I promise, I love you —

don’t cry — 

over the kitchen counter
clearing scraps, I started to weep.

Out the sliding door, I could see the unkempt grass
bullied by a fleeing wind

and I thought of all the things my son is,

If emotion is useless,
then each tear is:
not exorcism,
not process,
but how I can’t do anything else;
inflammatory mediators throwing flags
into the brine of the future, the future, the future, the future, the future
is dripping onto the counter,
and in the fading light
we can still taste the salt
and say,
at least — 

a love you can choke on, and get, heavy — wearing, grinding
at least — 

so close now, your face, ear
and the future

Excerpted from You May Not Take the Sad and Angry Consolations. Copyright © 2022 by Shane Neilson

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