Blood at Home

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Change, what keeps all of it the same,
the Teacher says, no new thing
under the sun. What we make, let’s make old
instead, older than the first tool,
what smelled much like the body–
the first blacksmith must have thought–
not quite like displaced blood, but blood at home
in its place among other parts in their places,
and that must be how we began to confuse
the power to examine and change
with the power to create

From The Diener by Martha Serpas

(Poems, prose and comics that remind me of archaeology, pt 7)

Relative Pitch

I was carrying supplies back up the mountain
when I heard it, the laughter of children,
so strange in that starkness.
Pushed past the brush and scrub willow
and saw a ruined farmhouse and girls
in ragged clothes. They had rigged a swing
and were playing as though they were happy,
as if they did not know any better.
Having no way to measure, I thought,
remembering the man in Virginia who found
a ruined octagonal mansion
and repaired it perfectly. For months
he walked through the grand empty rooms
wondering what they were like.
Until he found a broken chair in the attic
and re-created the colors and scale. discovered
maybe the kind of life the house was.
Strangers leave us poems to tell of those
they loved, how the heart broke, to whisper
of the religion upstairs in the dark,
sometimes in the parlor amid blazing sunlight,
and under trees with rain coming down
in August on the bare, unaccustomed bodies.

(By Jack Gilbert, in The Great Fires)
(Poems and prose that remind me of archaeology, pt 4)