Poem by Yrik-Max Valentonis

 

Lost in Urban Landscaping #47

Wake up this morning left-handed.
Oh yes, you have seen the signs.
Pregnancy is a means to an end, not the complete destiny: Prelude.
Stare at your hand with baby-like intensity of that first discovery–
             Yes, it is your hand.
             tingling.
             numb.

It no longer listens to your commands.
Child confusion and joy at every twitch.
Touch each fingertip
             and name a best friend
             and try and remember what part of the country they live in
             and pray that you can feel that touch
             and pray that you will see them again

Touch each fingertip.
You can learn to be left-handed.
Remember middle school,
Eddy broke his arm and neck
Broke his neck
he lived
he became left-handed
You used to write with your left hand too
But you didn’t break your neck.
yet.

Touch your …
             tingling.
             numb.
How many have had strokes
… not of good luck
… not so long ago, watching football at his house.
buried.

Have to slow down
Your parents used to be so strong, so capable–
             made it themselves, from scratch,
             never asked for anyone’s help,
             pulled through the hard times,
             the American way
Canes, walkers, and wheelchairs — a hallway of helplessness
Bodies bruise, bones brittle, blood breakdown
             thinner than water

The devil’s hand remembers the smack of ruler
an idle hand unable to raise a fist of protest
the practicality in dogma
restricted, restrained, repentant, & recovering

Don’t drop the baby.
You’ll wake him.

 

Yrik-Max Valentonis is a writer and cartoonist. His comics and writings have appeared in magazines, e-zines, radio broadcasts, art exhibitions: artiCHOKE, Cliterature, Folio 94, Poetry of the People, Re:Verse, and Taverner’s Koans, the chapbooks: iDEAL and this is visual poetry; the anthologies: Animal Blessings, Divided Again, Sinbad and the Winds of Destiny, and Zombie Nation: St. Pete. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida (BA) and Naropa University (MFA).

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine. His new book will be out someday.

 

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