Pamela Hart

Some Thoughts on Metaphor

To make a metaphor of her brother’s brain is to hold two or more different ideas in her hands. Like dissonance. One thing changing the other. Is everything metaphor. A word leaves the station, travels so many miles per hour for however long, arrives at a striking destination. After his brain splits, her brother avoids cracks. Walks vigilantly to stay clear of fissures in floors or surfaces. Step on a crack break your mother’s back running through his blown-apart frontal lobes. The rhyme divining the future. Because the mother does die shortly thereafter. Eventually the sister dreams about the fox inside a wardrobe. Later it follows her from story to story. The first metaphors were small hands imprinted on a cave wall. The hands transforming the body into a russet-petaled mirage that lives on despite or because of lack of light.

Romance of the Fragment

The sister imagines the scene. She returns to picture the game. The brother leaving. There’s that. He doesn’t remember and now the others are dead. Cheering. Touchdowns. Marching band. Walk to the exit. Perhaps it’s evening. The brain must be considered. Though not restored. The Tucson sky is purple and wide. Tomorrow already tick-tocking. Not that he remembers. The moment of impact. Furniture of the mind rearranged. Certain words are too shiny. Arc is a lovely shape. Soon enough his brain. The world of him. Symmetries knocked off their podium. Ideas gone. The ruin of it. His breath falling from the sky. Shrapnel stuttering over the field some shallow then deep intake before a slowing down into the drop against his skull air in syncopated gulps the gasping his breath sky crashing into mouth a bolt of breeze inhale like exhale as metal feathers into gray matter the desert a nest for his breath parts falling from the sky.

Pamela Hart is author of the award-winning collection, Mothers Over Nangarhar, published in 2019 by Sarabande Books. She is writer-in-residence at the Katonah Museum of Art where she manages and teaches an arts-in-education program. She received the Brian Turner Literary Arts Prize in poetry in 2016. She was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowship as well as a fellowship from the SUNY Purchase College Writers Center. Toadlily Press published her chapbook, The End of the Body. She is a teaching artist in the schools and lives in North Salem, New York. She is a poetry editor for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project and for As You Were: The Military Review.

Next poem

Previous poem