The Blog

Fragments

When I see the boy with no feet,
Traipsing along the shoreline,
Leaving circular imprints
For the ocean’s tide
To carry away,
I bury my toes
Underneath the surf,
Avoid eye contact,
Pretend to be entranced,
Watching waves ripple,
Clouds dissipate.

Like a fire extinguished,
The horizon retreats,
It meets, it parts,
Behind it leaves fragments.

Alone at the water’s edge,
I instruct my limbs to disappear,
Kneeling with weight on one arm,
Letting first my fist submerge,
Then my wrist, until gradually it severs at the elbow,
Far from the one-handed man
At the pumping station,
Who curses the heat,
Counts out my change,
Then employs an able rag
To wipe gently his gnarly stump.

Like a fire extinguished,
The horizon retreats,
It meets, it parts,
Behind it leaves fragments.

As I return to my towel,
To my book, to my space,
I notice a freckle-faced teen,
Concealed to his neck in sand
By friends eager to suppress,
His head a motionless beach ball,
Adorned with a crown of seaweed.
He giggles at his stillness,
His body masked, not emasculated.
I nod my head and smile,
Careful not to step on castles misshapen.

Like a fire extinguished,
The horizon retreats,
It meets, it parts,
Behind it leaves fragments.

I read about a man
Deformed from birth
And then another man
Made lame from age
And still another
Unhinged by fate,
And I wonder,
Which is worse?
To have faith and lose it,
Or to never had faith at all?
I apply lotion, squint at the sky and daydream.

Like a fire extinguished,
The horizon retreats,
It meets, it parts,
Behind it leaves fragments.

I think of a small toad I once found,
He hopped into my garage.
I tried to save him from my dog
By coaxing him into a pot.
Instead of rescuing the toad
In my effort to catch him,
I clumsily crushed his hind leg.
It saddened me to release him to the forest.
Once spry and innocent,
He would now learn to survive as a gimp,
Or surrender as a victim.

Like a fire extinguished,
The horizon retreats,
We meet, we part,

Be
hind
we
leave
frag
ments.

  • [About Dan Cafaro]
  • [Poetry Break Editor Note]
  • About Dan Cafaro

    Dan Cafaro is the founder and publisher of Atticus Books, a small press based in Madison, N.J. When Dan is not following his wife around the country, he is known to sit for long periods of time pondering how to live off the grid. Atticus Review is his first literary journal.

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