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Posts by Monica Deck

Fragments: Black Gloves

Fragments- Black Gloves

 

Four years old, and my father’s hands were so big.

In our first house, the garage was the weight room. His domain.

I spent hours in there, chasing our cat or pretending to drive the car. I always watched him, Daddy, freckled arms in a white shirt, stacking weights on the lat machine. The rise of the carriage as he pulled down the bar, the sound of metal rattling on metal.

I still hear that sound in my mind, ten years past the last time I lived at home. He still has that machine, in the basement now.

Sometimes he would pick me up and set me on top of the plates for a set, I added an extra thirty pounds and had a grand old time, riding up and down like a roller coaster.

He always wore lifting gloves, black or gray. Velcro wrists and palms lined with leather. So many pairs over the years, wearing them early in the morning, or after work. I would slide them over my tiny hands, laughing when my finger tips wouldn’t even pass the seam below the first knuckle. They were huge, Dad has big hands.

Now that I’m grown, my own hands are also large, but the bones are finer, more like the hands of my mother.

I used to put his spare gloves on my hands and follow him around with a little pair of two-pound hand weights covered in green foam. I would imitate his bicep curls and struggle with each move, breathing through my teeth like he did when rounding out a heavy set.

I think he originally purchased the green weights for Mom, but I would pretend they were just for me. They definitely weren’t for him, a man who considers twenty pounds to be paltry and light.

Whenever I think of those gloves and those hours, I feel comforted. I feel safe.

Even in the midst of serious trouble, the scent of mingled metal and leather is a balm.

I remember each pair of gloves as it died, worn out, the leather in the palms cracking and the velcro rendered useless, all different makers and colors. They all feel the same on my hands, and breathe into my heart that nostalgic, metallic peace.


header image credit: Compfight stock photos

“The Art of Losing Isn’t Hard to Master”

-The Art of Losing Isn't Hard to Master-

 

My soul begs forgiveness from her pastor.
Lips wrap around the words, glass-empty eyes
stare through church walls laced with cracks and plaster.

Each hand will fall away, each heart
has left me to decipher truth from lies.
My soul begs forgiveness from her pastor.

Memory, and pictures too, wilt like dying aster,
that powdered death-scent lingers while I eulogize
and disguise my cracks with a coating of fresh plaster.

Love, in dying, doesn’t always seek hereafter;
and I didn’t love so much as fraternize,
so my heart begs forgiveness from her pastor.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master
or so goes the lady Bishop reprise
I recite with each trowel stroke, laying on the plaster.

No fruit from the hours of prayer I muster
will end my penance – this I realize.
So my heart begs forgiveness from her pastor,
and daily, covers up her cracks with coats of plaster.


 

Title and italicized line from “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop
Header image credit Compfight stock photos, Creative Commons use

Demeter on the Beach

Demeter on the Beach

With every breath, I drink in the old day
the riptide of emotion still, for now.
I skulk along the shore, this vulture’s prey.

Upon the glass and letters I won’t allow
to drift on out to sea: a message borne
of the last night’s detritus. This beast hath
eaten me from house and home, prickly thorn.
Each step sinks deeper in his plotted path.

I wake this morning with the mind of pain;
I know just what awaits: the wire, the mask.
Endure the sleep, the shock – the monster slain!

In evening, now, to sleep is no small task.

The beach awaits, and carrion for meat.
Each word is culled; the waves engulf my feet.
The broken glass is sharp; that peace, so fleet.

He pulls the strings, will not admit defeat.

My salted wounds will call him to my street,
feed him his work like milk-gold from the teat.


 

Photo credit Compfight stock photos, Creative Common use

A Dead Bird and His Words

A Dead Bird and His Words

 

I shared some words with a dead bird today.

So full of sin, the sounds wound up like smoke,

tar stench and coil. That broken beak delayed

my march to bed. I breathed in each clock stroke,

each name it echoed. ‘Round inside my mind,

he whispered words that I had not forgot.

Found each apology empty, each time.

His feathers soaked with rainwater and rot.

It was a treasure hunt, those hearts and hands.

And in these shoes the means are just for ends;

I’ve lost it all within that timeless span

where my heart breaks with each knee that bends.

Too cold for flies, the branches hung like lies.

All wet black scars that cut the clouded sky.

 


header image photo courtesy of Lock & Stock Photos – ‘Sleepy Hallow

Heart Made of Clay

A Clay Oven for the Heart

 

No one told me that love
is not an equation, nor linear
our hearts are like plotting points
the x-y axis
Positive three for the kiss, negative four (a bit too forward)

we dance and prance around the grid,
sometimes we forget that home is zero, zero.

I would be your desperate ballerina
your green light on the dock
a manic pixie dream

in slow motion, the blast is beautiful

I lost myself in a bar parking lot,
staring at stars and speaking the gibberish of broken tongues.

I ached in the inches between two leather chairs.

In the dorm room,
I cried unblinking in ecstatic rage.

Under a ceiling of acoustic tile,
I looked up, away
from your turning head of chestnut hair.

My heart has traveled.

Chaotic routes across the map,
from a southwestern corner to a cold north lake
into shafts of gilded light through branches,
through green leaves and a tiny castle,
in post-tripping waves of nostalgia.

I have been years of love, compacted
to the third-floor space of a week.

I have been an instant of love that never died.

I have been the immortal beloved,
I have been the beloved heathen, released
returned to the wild to prevent further damage.

I have been abandoned by the wooden cross,
I have been sustained by the weight of gold.

My love flew one-way across the ocean.

My love was a wager,
traded for self-satisfaction and a case of beer.

My love, I drank the cheap red wine in your wood-paneled room
and lit a bonfire upon friendship mistaken for something else.

I could do most anything to you

I turned up the thermostat,
I was always so warm and ready
for the hands of these men to shape me
because I was frightened of mirrors.


 

 

Italicized lines from ‘Somewhere a Clock is Ticking’ by Snow Patrol

Photo Credit: Compfight stock photos, Creative Commons use

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