Gunny Sack, Cantilevers

Gunny Sack 

You would never say to me 
for all your education you lack the knowledge 
of the deep down things, 
of cedar rings, what sister Rosie sings 
journeying far back across the field 
to a house where words are not as near 
as the meanings they convey; 
on the countertops there, 
a jarful of cascara bark 
with a nameless purpose 
far more felt, 
like how they would know 
where to walk when the stove 
went gunny sack; 
even before it 
was invented was 
this fixing known, 
the way to work, the how to cope, 
the prayers in Polish, the sitting 
just as you do now 
telling me a term never learned 
in balustered corridors, 
never mingling with lexicons 
of any kind, caught up in 
machinery in the woods and 
being more content 
to walk the cow home ten miles 
by a back road 
to a familiarity without definition 
that is its own provenance, 
showing me that 
I, too, come from there.

You catch my eye and 
hang there for a moment, 
suspended only by the force of attraction, 
looming over the ground 
to provide a pleasant expanse 
of air in which to breathe, 
to pass through, 
to pause and collect like 
crosswalk stops and moments of 
those beheld gazing only briefly 
before fording the road 
or pressuring the accelerator pedal 
forward. An imprint is left 
grafted in space roadside 
for me to ponder later, an image 
needing no ulterior supports 
that I can bring on the bus 
and read for a while, 
that I remember while running, 
that simply stays where 
you are and where I am, 
too, a promontory spirit 
structurally sound across distances, 
projecting greatly in relation 
to its depth, permitting me 
never to forget you. I am 
bewildered by suspense, 
surprised to see no obvious foundation, 
nor itinerant crowd nearby, 
and to know that you extend just so 
and would not have it any other way 
gives me a horizontal assurance of 
a strength, mysterious and strange, 
that will not change, 
that vexes and hangs.

Luke Janicki lives in Seattle, WA. He has previously published work in the Gonzaga University literary journal Reflection and in America Magazine. He has his M.Ed. from the University of Notre Dame.

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