three poems from Refutations by Memory, Benjamin Sutton

These poems….wow.  Breathtaking. My favorite line?
“They danced like a swallow of water down your throat.”


Why are you remembering it this way? Why is everything

a delicate brushstroke of nostalgia? Homesickness

for a home. Young girls indian

styled under a drowsy-sycamore

promoting their angularity—

all elbows and knees.

Take me home. The long way. The punctured water-tower

of specifics flowing down your neck. The way her face

broke when the head-on traffic

attacked her reflection

in the glass. The light on the glass.


Tonight let’s play the bedsheet with stress sweat.

Remember the lightening-crack of the shot out bulbs the cats

pawprinted. That was the summer of Dad’s aggression.

The summer we laid deep in ditches and listened

as the semis assaulted the cornstalks. Here is where

we found early evening by the cupful. The night

the branches in the frontyard grew kittens for the rescuing.

Remember the memory when you tight-rope-walked home

along the yellow paint of backroads, kicking up the dust of drought.

Not all memory is epiphany. Not all sunsets crackle like a November fire.

The nieces danced. They danced like a swallow of water down your throat.


Let’s go back to the first. The first pilot light of memory.

On your back, filleted daydreams: buoys pirouetting. The plane

you thought would unzip for the sky Blouse open to the clouds.

Like the two would roll up into a blanket.

The way mother carried herself through the grass. The scrub grass

with its rash decisions. All left or right. Cherry bomb fingers.

Dirt mouth dirty. Handful of bird’s nest.

The man wearing a suit of setting-sun throws you at the sky

as the other children scream

airplane, airplane.


Categories: Poetry

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