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The Relationship Between Nouns and Verbs

by: Andrew Field

The mind balks and the mind breaks.
The mind talks and stutters, mutters melodious nonsense before it sleeps.

Sleet falls. Light falls, bodies fall, we fail each other.
My mother has been falling, so now she walks apprehensively.

The heart breaks like a plate;
it makes the word “shatter” and the mind burns.

Poetry matters. Poetry matters and poetry mutters, stutters and staggers,
staggers forwards towards the morning-fallen snow, and knows it all intimately:

how my father knows my mother, how my mother knows herself,
how the snow falls slowly, like shreds of paper,

like my mother’s writing, torn into pieces. My mother wrote.
She wrote for the Detroit News,

she dragged my brothers and me around; she laughed and we laughed;
she took us to apple orchards

and puppet plays and museums. The mind balks.
The moment I knew my mother was sick,

I felt I was falling, and my heart broke like a plate.
At night, in the neutral light of the study, I embraced my father.

Eyes brimmed, the mind trembled and the heart welled.
Time walked. It walked over us, broken stones.

My mother falls, my father cries, I cry and time walks.
The future trembles, and the cold moans.

My mother smiles. She says, “I love you, Andrew.”
The heart breaks. The mind balks.