Four Poems

Poetry
Garrett Harriman


Photo Credit: Greenstone Girl/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

The Spider Poem Remembered

It had short lines
throughout,
only two or three stanzas
plus that extra bit
at the end.*

The spider was a pilot
then Quetzalcoatl
and the flies in its web “debris.”
An asphyxiation
of alliteration followed—
an anaerobic inch-and-a-half.

I remember looking
up the word spinnerets, too.
Grafting it oh so
strategically (like you do).

The final thought was offset:
no reason.

*(In the white right of here, nearly top
of the page: Perfection!
wrote the teacher, his blue
and damning praise.)

 

Knife

When Jesus broke bread,
did he pray
for a knife?
It would’ve made
things easier
to measure and spread,
pass from left
to right.

Instead
he pigeoned it,
brother pecking brother
round that table
for a night—
but all fed,
surely,
all fed.

 

Looking Like I Want to Jump Off a Bridge, I Find Myself On a Bridge

It hadn’t crossed my mind mid-crossing
and although it’s fine bridge-jumping weather
the plummet from this one
above an icy winter bank
(more geology than water at this point,
the skeletal musings of spring
barely high enough to break a fall)
would only snap an ankle or two, a wrist maybe,
soak my all-season hiking boots to their dusty rims,
and that’d be it.

I’d look up from that kids’ table
of failed suicide attempts, ass-planted, heels-deep,
into the bored, morbidly disappointed eyes
of the passing man who asked me
just before,
“You’re not gonna jump now, are you?”

How could I answer him? To anyone?
And what anemic imagination must he think an offing takes?
There’d be nothing to do—not really
besides waddle to shore and shrug my shoulders,
pull some line about featherweight pocket stones
and puff my Chaplin cheeks
as if I’d just missed the bus
and must now—with much sheep—await another,
presumably the last,
the bright idea of stepping in front of it
merrily whizzing by my head.
Hell, I can hear my voice apologizing.

And over there, not too much later,
in silhouette beside a two-log fire—my woolen socks
draped along a wooden chair back,
drip-drip-dripping for tomorrow.

 

How to Read a Birthday Card
For Kailey

Be young and crowd-shy,
harangued by a mother.

Come into your voice
like a mouse sniffing traps.

Your audience is a blind man?
Speak closer.

If nearly blind,
remember to linger on words.

Let the biggest card
buffer your blushes.

And the fold you wrote?
Read last like you planned.

That’s expected, sweet one.
Expected most of all.

pencil

Born and living in Colorado, Garrett Ray Harriman loves writing, playing saxophone, and learning languages. His poetry is published or forthcoming in Kestrel, Chrysanthemum, Atlas Poetica, and Naugatuck River Review. Lifting Smoke, Falling Mist, his first tanka-only poetry collection, also vagabonds online, and may someday find its published home. Feel free to follow his sporadic Twitter @Inadversent. Email: harrimangr[at]gmail.com