Abloom & Awry
by Tina Kelley
God lurks in the story of stethoscope,
kaleidoscope, microscope, but also in the punched
ache of falling apart: accidents, insanities, plot twists
surpassing human imagination. God’s the sparrow
in the convention center, the skateboard akimbo
on the freeway shoulder, the perfect paw
reaching out of the long-flat roadkill, and somehow
the father shooting his two daughters, third wife
and self, leaving the baby son safe asleep.
God is all those lost, up in the God world
being nothing, stuck between the notes.
I worship the grape molding in the bunch’s depths,
our neighbors’ ruttings and fights our baby monitor
picks up, the metastasis of laughter, cauterization
of grief, that maroon bog-shininess of ancient remains,
the magnificat of dew on lady’s mantel leaf, the cousin
born with fetus in fetu, her twin parasitizing her ovary,
the first caveman to huck a rock at his chum’s skull,
the walk Joe took, alone, to spread his arm’s ashes,
the cruelty young boys show to turtles, the suicidality
of child molesters, even pustard, that liquid dripping
from the bottle when all you really want is mustard.
I worship weird domestic ways to die,
electrocution by lovesong falling in bathtub,
infant decapitation by ceiling fan, while I praise
ways to create, painting with menstrual blood
on cave walls, zen sand art by kitty in litter,
painted toddler feet tromping on the ceiling.
I worship every reason I cried this year,
slow songs, missing Dad, children refusing
to come downstairs for their special pancakes,
adoptive mother heartbroken at a son’s sins,
also every new song I loved this year, but
most of all, if I may see, the many years to come.
“Abloom & Awry” is the title poem of her third collection, which CavanKerry is printing next year. It previously won the New Jersey Poets Prize from the Journal of New Jersey Poets in 2014.
Tina Kelley’s third poetry collection, Abloom & Awry, is coming out next spring from CavanKerry Press. She also wrote Precise and The Gospel of Galore, which won the Washington State Book Award, and co-authored Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope. She was a reporter at The New York Times for a decade.