Poems of Disappointment – Nays and Naughts

Nays and Naughts belongs to the group of poems of disappointment, a reflection on overcoming setbacks and finding resilience as well as support.

Nays and Naughts – Poems of Disappointment

All the no’s and zeros fell
And all the trees and people barely cling on;
some by their roots, some by their teeth.
And one child, dealt blow after blow, says no
and marks a thick black x across his page. Now,
the child pukes and stamps his feet to crush
the back-breaking straw. No love, no word, no embrace
can fuse his spine or glue his legs back on his torso,
his head’s rolling down the hill
toward the black ocean. The moon looks on,
the wind strokes the child’s head, his breath now hopping
from church to cloud to the top of a skyscraper
down to the edge of the tree’s roots. They see her,
the old lady next door, the postman delivering cars and
notices to quit, and the boy on crutches, a football fanatic,
traps the head before it hits the black ocean.
And the roots of the tree mouth her breath, drawing it
down into the moist nest in the mud. Unable to
jam the head beneath his arm and still walk with crutches,
the boy kicks the head across the park
with his weak leg,
as far as the graffiti-marred trunk where
the wind and moon stop it.
His breath or hers have slipped and settled
into the arms of the tree extending
upwards, sideways, and down toward
her legs, his arms, the head,
beyond all the nays and the naughts,
binding and stitching limbs.

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