Jeri Theriault

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how the body heals

 

slow-crawl through thick air

mind furrows its weighty rut

& a boy flits past on his board

threads the sluggish cars

so fully his 13-year-old self

left foot lifted

headphoned rap

metal    thrash

slings him wide

onto Deering

& I want to warn him

 don’t ride here   it’s too

dangerous

but he pulls me

into the perfect stitch

of his turn

holds all of us car-bound cynics

in thrall

weaves his net

exquisite

rule of body-need

the way

I danced once

between a mirrored wall

& plate-glass street

bare feet & red skirt

music & muscle in synch

whisper-stomp

my middle-aged body

loose-hinged

claiming this column of air

                                                you make me feel

                                                                        you make me feel

                                                each step a truth

                                                            I danced

though I was not

had never been

a dancer

lifted all of Congress Street

                                                                  my bones singing

a hymn

unlearned

& necessary

 

 

inukshuk

after Rising Cairn by Celeste Roberge

 

the stones piled variously on the thin beach

near my favorite walking path  fall

when the tide turns & collect

 

in the crook of that place   prepared

for stillness. the water beats them smooth

& makes a kind of music    grief’s

 

innumerable chuffs & sighs. the woman kneeling

does not put the stones into her pockets

but swallows them   each stone

 

remembered by the tongue.  swallows clay & silt

taste of cavern   cliff edge & crag    until her body holds

the balance between weight

 

& right. earth-pinned   I  too  remember  each fist-sized

bruise   each rain-wise stone tuned to the illumined lullaby

of loss.     like the low-tide man   hefting

 

stone in his well-muscled arms   smile-less   stone-

worthy.  another swallower     he cairns & stoops.

does not look at me even when I speak.

 

we swallow what gathers   clamoring.

we sink a bit more each day   stone-anchored.

she says she’s rising. not

 

sinking. in another telling   she carries stones

one by one uphill.     some say

the carrying goes on forever.

 

Inuksuk (inukshuk in English) is an Inuit word for a figure made of piled stones constructed to communicate with humans throughout the arctic. Inukshuk  means “to act in the capacity of a human.” http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/inuksuk-inukshuk/

 

by Jeri Theriault

Jeri Theriault’s Radost, My Red was published by Moon Pie Press in 2016. She also has three chapbooks, most recently: In the Museum of Surrender (Encircle Publications contest winner, 2013). Her poems have appeared in journals (Paterson Literary Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Rattle, The Atlanta Review, etc.) and anthologies such as French Connections: An Anthology of Poetry by Franco-Americans. A Fulbright recipient (1998-99) and Pushcart Prize nominee (2006, 2013 and 2016), Jeri holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Maine.

 

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