Opposition and Sister Squares, Chris Gavalier

Wooden spoons and cast iron

Allen Guest

 These things are elemental, essential: 
  
             bass and drum 
             May and October 
             wooden spoons and cast iron. 
  
 Everything else unnecessary, 
 save for the listening. 
  
 Be patient and rolling hills will write poems, 
 flowing waters will read them, 
 and winds will scatter 
 the verses for all to hear. 
  
 And your father’s jazz records? 
 The ones you have stored 
 in his army footlocker with 
 the quilt his mother made for you 
 when you were born? 
  
 Take the records out. 
 Open the windows on a cool 
 Saturday evening in October, 
 wrap the ragged quilt 
 around yourself again, 
 hear the saxophone 
 and the swish of a drummer’s brush. 
  
 As for the quilt – listen intently and you can hear 
 scissors cutting squares of material, 
 the gentle click of a thimble, 
 the low hiss of sturdy thread being drawn 
 through tightly woven cloth. 
  
 These too are poems 
 you do not have to write, 
 no less important than those 
 of rolling hills and flowing waters, 
 their verses as essential as 
  
             bass and drum 
             May and October 
             wooden spoons and cast iron. 
 

Allen Guest is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at Clemson University, where he mostly teaches courses in the calculus sequence. He has been writing poetry for about four years. His work has appeared in TildeFlying South, The Petigru Review, The Esthetic ApostleCathexis Northwest PressFrom the Depths, and Running with Water. Four of his poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.