Thursday, December 29, 2011

"A Letter From The Committee For the Advancement of Loss"

[A big week for poetry here on Robert Frost's Banjo: today, another stunningly good poem by Brittany Newmark]

A Letter From The Committee For the Advancement of Loss

I am making a drawing of the world,
an analogy in ink dotted outlines

                between that which is lost
                                by our own errant ways
                                and that which is torn from us
                                and that which recedes with time.

We will speak of these quietly in hushed tones,
that are leaned into.
It serves as a history lesson,
                                And that freight an uneven load.

As always, in my imagination
                My lecture today begins
                as my lecture yesterday began
                and as I will begin tomorrow.
There in the repetition of what has been said—a long silence

Once it had everything to do with the chestnut trees
and a poplar wood, a tan pup 
tucked under a blue woolen coat with horn buttons.

And I.  Steinmetz, a star man
                                                                and stone cutter
Who traveled that great distance in a wooden cart

hidden beneath the straw bales.

                in a codeine stupor
of ten thousand clocks and brass gears and enamel hands,

And  later

licking the icicles beneath a truck’s chassis,
or were they hanging from the roof of a boxcar? 
No matter they were cold and slick. 

The thirst: a reminder, drink
                                                                you must drink.

The long always
                                        winter on the back of the eyelids, specks of snow
the shadow of wolves

Like what the letter should have said:

                Dear Mr X,

                The committee has met and discussed the unfortunate situation that was your family. 

                We wish to thank you for your generous contribution to the world of loss.  Their names should be                 blessed and you should be written in the Book of Life

                Respectfully Yours,

                The Committee For the Advancement of Loss

                PS.  We cannot await a reply.

Brittany Newmark
© 2011



  1. Profound. It spoke to me of my own losses.

  2. Hi Joyce: "Profound" is a good word. Thanks so much for commenting on Brittany's poem!


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