Open this up and break it
Don’t ask me about our usual impression. That is something that can’t be spoken about.
Please. You know me. Creeping up the trunks of willows. I don’t want to remember.
I don’t want you there.
It was another who dashed into the river waters.
You dropped stones in your pockets to follow.
The reeds and all held your arms and you looked – oh nothing heart-breaking.
I am so sick now. You changed for the worse. Craved any upheaval.
An absolute spasm which – oh the memory is gone.
I am old though and anything else – I can’t do a thing.
Your arms were flung creeping along the bank
like willows bending over towards my face.
I am sore and I am going to give you honey if I can.
I am old though – no good whatsoever.
The red fruit. Your arms. I want to pay. Oh – let them leave me alone.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy
Andrew Cantrell is a poet, labor activist, first-generation (former) academic, and working-class southerner transplanted to the Midwest. He is the author of the chapbooks Phantom Equator (above/ground press) and Stratigraphy (Finishing Line Press). A Puschart Prize nominee, his work has been published widely, including in Posit, Lana Turner, Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology, and Vestiges (Black Sun Lit). Since 1993, he has served as a rank-and-file organizer, steward, and elected leader in local unions of the American Federation of Teachers and the Communication Workers of America, and has organized hospital, industrial, and educational workers in Pennsylvania, California, and across the Midwest. He currently works in Chicago, where he organizes public employees, secondary and higher education faculty and staff, grad workers, and teaching artists.
This is Cantrell’s second above/ground press title, after Phantom Equator (2018).
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