By Lori Howe

My grandfather mended fence
in the cold light of Januaries.

He mended with other closed-faced men
in heavy jackets
and leather gloves stiff with frost.
Amongst them, gestures,
few words,
the upward thrust of a chin,
a footward nod…
enough language
for the task.

My mother’s grandfather mended net
in the cold rain of mornings by the sea.

He mended with other closed-faced men
in rubber boots
and oilskin jackets
as the sky slicked down their necks
and across chests and backs
strong from pulling nets
and mending them.

They mended fence and net with your grandfather
and your mother’s grandfather
without speaking
and knew each other’s minds
through the movement of their hands.

I would mend net and fence with you
on the plains or on wet rocks by the sea,
but our hands are empty now—

you cannot know my mind

by watching me,

you cannot know me by the sharpness

of my blade or needle,

you cannot tell my heart

by the clean motion of my knots.

Mend with me,
out in that space
beyond fences.
We need no nets
to tie knots
that will hold.

Categories: Issue 5, Poetry, Wyoming Workshops | Leave a comment

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