MEH is Matthew E. Henry, a Pushcart nominated poet with works appearing or forthcoming in Longleaf Review, Poetry East, The Radical Teacher, Rhino, Third Wednesday, and 3Elements Review. MEH received his MFA from Seattle Pacific University, then spent money he didn’t have pursuing a MA in theology and a PhD in education. His latest chapbook was recently accepted and is forthcoming.
The Other Fall
according to Auden, the old masters were never wrong
about human suffering. for his part, Williams felt nature
tingling within itself. but how well could they understand
the whole pageantry of cows standing dully in a field—
an ewe at the edge of a fenced wood, another
in some untidy spot—as a plane melts from the sky?
do these innocents hear the forsaken cry of engines,
an unsignificant crash, and take the human position?
off the coast of their concerns, does it go unnoticed,
a failure unimportant unless the barn and silo
will not be filled—unless the fuel will brown their land?
baring this, will they graze or stare calmly on?
only three things broke the silence:
our wooden chairs scuffing linoleum,
an increasingly lethargic beeping, and
the anapestic white noise
which kept him alive. our hands
fell like eyes to our laps,
or to contemplate the coarseness
of hospice sheets. we ran the numbers:
the low thread count. white blood cells.
semesters he had left. his fall was average:
there was no need to seek a secret sin
or tragic flaw. he loved literature,
but we’d all read enough, lived enough
to know disaster descends with sudden,
ancient violence. how quickly
our minds turned to parents driving roads
slick with unfortunate endings. would be
spouses accepting scholarships
to other colleges. letters lost in transit.
eggs which will never drop. angels
show, don’t tell
cotton sleeves conceal hash marks of silence—
precise rows furrowing porcelain skin.
So what’s the point you’re trying to prove in this paper?
What’s your thesis?
the undecorated box rests green beneath her bed.
red-ridged fingerprints dried atop its brass latch,
smudged along its cover. inside,
No, the ideas make sense, but you need more support
from the text to really persuade the reader.
rust colored snow dusts the carefully folded notes
This section is a bit unclear.
You should consider revising.
and the unnamed objects— straight and serrated—
which chip and scar the bottom.
There’s still a lot of work to do,
but i think we’re making good progress.