If you’re not much on the mushy angle of Valentine’s Day, why not revel in the tender but improbable poem (below) by Rick Bursky?
The poem appears in Bursky’s second collection, Death Obscura (published by Sarabande Books). Death Obscura offers an important voice, one that is both surreal and human. There’s a lot of little laughter and insight to be had between his lines.
Happy St. Valentine’s Day, day of romance — but also a day to be aware of what it means to do without.
I’m besotted with this poem:
My father built a wall in the middle of the yard;
five feet high and seven feet long,
separating nothing there from nothing not there.
At night he whispered to the wall.
Mother didn’t care, “what a man whispers
in the shadow of his wall is his business alone.”
Large flat stones, mortar, moonlight,
the damp quiet father leaned against the wall
like a man waiting in an alley.
After he died mother closed her eyes
and placed her ear against the wall.
One side of the wall was love.
One side of the wall was longing.
Later she donated the wall to a church.
One side of the wall became sky.
One side of the wall became earth.
Mother never said what she heard
or if she heard anything at all.