Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May 4: Burdens, Nick Flynn, "Twenty-Pound Stone"

Everyone carries burdens, things that weigh them down.  Worry or guilt or need.  The last few nights, I've had trouble sleeping because of the changes that are about to occur in my life.  The semester is over, and my university paychecks are going to stop coming soon.  In a month, I will be starting my new job; that means a new work schedule with new responsibilities and new stress.  At the end of June, I will be teaching my first online course.  My daughter is taking driver's training this summer.

Those are a few of my burdens right now.  I could also talk about the fact that my daughter never puts her socks in the clothes hamper.  She also leaves her bed unmade all the time.  My son's medication is still not working properly; he threatens his sister's life with a toy sledgehammer on a daily basis.

Burdens come in all shapes and sizes.  Teenage daughters.  Grains of sand.  Dirty socks.  Pebbles.  Twenty-pound stones.

Saint Marty is going to have a glass of wine tonight.  Alcohol is not a coping mechanism.  It just makes burdens look like unicorns with pink horns.

Twenty-Pound Stone

by:  Nick Flynn

It nests in the hollow of my pelvis, I carry it with both hands, as if
offering my stomach, as if it were pulling me forward.

At night the sun leaks from it, it turns cold, I sleep with it
beside my head, I breathe for it.

Sometimes I dream of hammers.

I am hammering it back into sand, the sand we melt into glass,
the glass we blow into bottles.

This stone is fifteen green bottles with nothing inside.

It never bleeds, it never heals, it is a soup can left on the back shelf,
the label worn off.

It is the corner of a house, the beginning of a wall.

At night it changes shape, it lies on one side, casting jagged shadows.

It brightens where my tongue touches it.

Richard's eyes were this color, a pale fruit, honeydew.

When I swing it over my head I swear it could lift me.

If I jump from a bridge it would drag me down, the current couldn't
carry us, it has no lungs, no pockets of air.

If I could walk it to the center of a frozen pond & leave it,
in the spring it would be gone.

This is your burden on wine . . .

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