Ars Poetica

Burying Albatross by Frank X Walker

photo of Frank X Walker by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Burying Albatross

In the parking lot behind the funeral home, my eyes settle on
the bulky white noose my father has lost a wrestling match to.
Though he is not convinced Windsor knot know-how can plant
tobacco or drive a nail true, he concedes his flawed results,

abides my desire to fix it. Calling up knowledge passed to me
from a book, I execute the maneuvers with fluid precision
and imagine I am creasing and folding a Japanese paper swan.
He stares at my knuckles, smiling, perhaps seeing his own hands

stuccoing a high ceiling or replacing a worn out alternator.
Standing close enough to kiss, we almost touch and pretend
to bury other heavy things, sewn together like the opposite ends
of the fabric in my hands. Before I let him go, all the sage advice

and words of encouragement that never breathed air between us
spread a silent wing then slide through a perfect slip knot, home.

Frank X Walker's poem is reprinted with the permission of the author. All rights reserved.

In celebration of Ars Poetica (2010), Rachel Eliza Griffiths' exhibition of photographs of Cave Canem faculty and fellows, the Poetry Society of America is presenting a selection of her portraits, each one accompanied by a poem from a Cave Canem poet she has captured on film.

As the poet Nikky Finney remarks "Because of her gifted, mindful pressing private eye on us, we discover what we could never completely see before, all around us, could never completely find before, right there in full shadow and slated sun, not even with our own two eyes: All of every bit of who we are."

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