May 1, 2017

Emily Rosko: “For Sakes”

Author photo_ERosko

This week, we are excited to present a new poem by Emily Rosko. Rosko is the author of Prop Rockery (University of Akron Press 2012) and Raw Goods Inventory (University of Iowa Press 2006). She is the editor of A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line (University of Iowa Press 2011), and poetry editor for Crazyhorse. She teaches creative writing to undergraduates and graduates in the new MFA Program at the College of Charleston.
 
Author’s note:

This poem is about the many things—keepsakes, grudges—we hold onto. Some of these things are quite silly.

 

For Sakes

 

You arrived and all the old troubles
lined up on the shelf. In each jar, bits
of an argument or tokened omen—
the scuffed-off pieces of the people

 

we imagined we might become.
The vinegar sting preserves the flesh
of grudges that won’t wear away. An oilcloth
saturated through, curl of hair, first cutting

 

teeth. Even spring cannot rid us
of the accumulated trinkets, these remainders
that stare us down, enclosed
in vague-yellow glass as if embalmed

 

by the witness the sun casts
on our stubborn heads. Trophies
to lost causes, there you are! Trifles
filed away with care: receipts

 

and price tags, damp matchbooks, candy
wrappers including the lollipop stick.
The lint I suffered on the twelfth day:
residue of our worst ways. Dusty

 

incorrectables, intangibles a sour
milk to accompany our daily tea and biscuits.
So here we are, my fellow pack-rat, rummaging
through it all, ready once again to bite.

 

About leanna

Leanna Petronella is a creative writing doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri.

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