Daily Archives: July 21, 2018

A Broken Arrow

Originally posted August 2017.  Revised.

Used to shoot
my father’s bow
in the backyard.

Knew the right grip, the 
two finger pull without
the thumb.

Prided myself
on form almost more
than accuracy. 

Had a sheaf of 
arrows, yellow shafted,
target heads like sharp bullets.

Had one white shafted one
chased with red, my favorite.
Saved it 
for last every time. 

One day I hit something
to the side of the target
and shattered that magic bolt.

Panicked and stared
at the splinters 
for a few minutes.

Tossed it into the woodpile
to be burned 
in winter, then still
some months off.

Pushed aside the judgement
until later, I thought, but my father
never said a word.

I am not sure he valued that arrow 
much at all. It was
everything about archery

to me: fantasy 
arrow, the Ultimate.

I always tried
to be immaculate with it
when I shot

my father’s bow
in my father’s backyard.
Tried to hit the target dead on,

tried to make myself
perfect in a skill
I’d never need, a skill

from a past time,
a past existence, 
a fantasy I’d made of myself.

Two Doors

If you go through that door
you will enter a room

already full
to the ceiling

that somehow
never stops filling, 

a mouth
that won’t spit, that only swallows.

That other door
in the far wall

on an empty room.

I have seen people
going in there all day,

no one has come out.
The room is small and 

there’s no question about it:
it is empty. I wouldn’t

go in there. You
will not come out.

I don’t know
where those people went

and neither do you.
Do you want to risk 

vanishing? Perhaps
it’s better on the far side

of Whatever.
As for me — I stand

between these rooms.
I get to choose,

to comment, to advise;
my advice

does no good to others
as far as I can tell

and for myself
I will not choose. Why?

Go into the stuffed room
and try to breathe. Go into

the empty room and 
try to exist, or at least be seen,

then tell me why
I need to decide. 

While you stammer
I’ll try and come up

with a satisfactory name
for the room we’re in,

or maybe I will do
no such thing. Maybe

I’ll just keep its name
to myself.  Keep it safe

from everyone who insists
on choosing one door or the other.