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May 142011
 

by Crystal Rast

I.

Raking the lines, I trace a circle

Of mixture to build beside my father

Mud on my hands—sand—and gravel

Laughing easily, he takes the shovel

And lifts the load from this little girl

To rake the lines and lift my circles

His knuckles raw—his fingers purpled

He’ll grind then apply the muddled mortar

Mud on my hands—sand—and gravel

Tells me of Nam, speaks in epistles

Words burned on tongues of those long departed

Raking the lines, I trace a circle

And I count on supple, velvety petals

If he loves me not, I’m certain to shatter

With mud for hands—arms of sand—and gravel

Hammer in my ears—fragments of wood and metal

So loud the sounds—drowning my whispers

This mud on my hands—sand—and gravel

To write these lines and trace these circles

II.

Here I stand, an unlikely porter

Speaking in tongues in this land of Babel

Leaves of the poplars, spotted and scattered

Ashes I lay in dust on the acre

So far to have come—so far yet to travel

Yet here I stand, an unlikely porter

To wash away dust requires wine not water

A line I trace from heart to navel

Leaves of the poplars, spotted and scattered

Scars count the days—my calendar

Marked by thinning hair, lank dull tendrils

As here I stand, an unlikely porter

Wheat thrashed clean, bleached and tender

Longing for another day—so sweet—so simple

Standing on leaves of poplars—spotted and scattered

Carry him peace, I lift my prayer

That he’ll awaken the trees to momentary rustle

As I leave the poplars, all is spotted—and scattered

Here I stand, Father, your unlikely porter.


III.

Raking the lines, I trace a circle—Here I stand, an unlikely porter

Of mixture to build beside my father—Speaking in tongues in this land of Babel

Mud on my hands—sand—and gravel—Leaves of the poplars, spotted and scattered

Laughing easily, he takes the shovel—Ashes I lay in dust on the acre

And lifts the load from this little girl—So far to have come, so far yet to travel

To rake the lines and lift my circles—Yet here I stand, an unlikely porter

His knuckles raw—his fingers purpled—To wash away dust requires wine not water

He’ll grind then apply the muddled mortar—A line I trace from heart to navel

Mud on my hands—sand—and gravel—Leaves of the poplars, spotted and scattered

Tells me of Nam, speaks in epistles—Scars count the days—my calendar

Words burned on tongues of those long departed—Marked by thinning hair, lank dull tendrils

Raking the lines, I trace a circle—As here I stand, an unlikely porter

And I count on supple, velvety petals—Wheat thrashed clean, bleached and tender

If he loves me not, I’m certain to shatter—Longing for another day—so sweet—so simple

With mud for hands—arms of sand and gravel—Standing on leaves of poplars, spotted and scattered.

Hammer in my ears—fragments of wood and metal—Carry him peace, I lift my prayer

So loud the sounds—drowning my whispers—That he’ll awaken the trees to momentary rustle

This mud on my hands—sand—and gravel—As I leave the poplars, all is spotted and scattered

To write these lines and trace these circles—Here I stand, Father, your unlikely porter.

  One Response to “An Unlikely Porter”

  1. Hi Crystal,
    Your mother has spoken of your father and of your writing talents, on separate occasions, many times. Your poem has moved me, and especially your mom. Your words stir up complex feelings that are a catalyst for shared thoughts, deeper understanding and connection. I’m so proud of you.

    Love,
    Mark