genna gardini – the archivist

The past clicks us into focus.
There’s a slid-hinge to the edit.

In this photo, your father frames you
like a fish he wants to remember—
slipped and tin, temporarily pliable,
propped on his knee.

Let’s take your brother, here,
blue-faced and stuffed, full of berries out the
bottom of the backyard, off the bramble
of his foot, rolling from the cabinet’s
carpet like a gum to its tongue,
small and sand-favoured;

his cheek still a linen chest of flesh
before he turned himself down

for girls who developed with their legs poised
stern as oars. They were his wife. Their skirts
unassailable septums, bone-walled. And their
factory-lit health, a tythe

I find myself paying,

and saying, “What’s honest is what lines it,
is the advertorial milk blanket of your insides,”

while my friends ask, “Is this how shit always is?”
and listen, and wonder, what fresh therapist
will chug the construction belt of their counsel,
tap court shoes square and cocked, to knock
the Morse code of medication, and send us
nearing ourselves, for three months, or about.

So, I smoke the scalpel of memory, instead,
and scour love in its clot, as time consults
like a ruler. And each inch knows this
is the telling. This is the business of my life:

to talk that bread out of its dripping
with the small, sauced animal of my knife.

Posted here with kind permission from the author.