Keeping things whole, by Mark Strand

You ever read a poem and think “yes, yes this!” Well, this poem just seems perfect right now…we’ve had unusually dry weather and I have twice as many field sites as last year, and my greenhouse experiment needs watering every day, and I’m cycling 150 miles a week and working 10-14 hours a day seven days a week, and a taxi driver blocked my path and got out of his car and got in my face and threatened to kill me because I accidentally touched the side of his car with my hand and he used a lot of bad language I will not repeat here but I gazed at him calmly and let him scream at me and…I’m keeping moving and keeping things whole.

Keeping Things Whole

In a field

I am the absence

of field.

This is

always the case.

Wherever I am

I am what is missing.

When I walk

I part the air

and always

the air moves in

to fill the spaces

where my body’s been.

We all have reasons

for moving.

I move

to keep things whole.



8 thoughts on “Keeping things whole, by Mark Strand

    • Definitely shook me up…for a moment I thought he was actually about to hit me. He screamed “I will f**** damage you! I will f**** end you, I’ll kill you! You f**** ignorant c***!” and then repeated these phrases in a variety of orders for a while. I was tempted to say, “Surely violence is a bit extreme…even if there were damage to your vehicle, shouldn’t monetary compensation be sufficient?” but I had a feeling it would not help haha Honestly, my hand barely touched his car, and when he saw there was no damage he said “You’re f**** lucky you f***** c**** I would have f*** ended you! I would have damaged you!” Whew…

  1. Oh you poor thing – how awful to be victim of road rage and for no reason — but the poem is lovely – thanks for sharing.

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