Today's poem is by Matthew Minicucci

A Whale's Heart

There's a sadness that smells
          like rose water. It's my father's

hands on the receiver, his voice, how his own
          father just can't find the words

anymore. If you give him time, he says, like a slow
          climb, the single-stroke engine sputtering, spilling

oil; falling behind. When you're deaf, sometimes
          you just stop
listening; I understand, how

sometimes it snows inside the skull; how much
          like wind, like nothing. How lovely these

fingerless gloves sewn; how inevitable. My
          grandfather once said you can hear

a whale's heart from over two miles
          away. How much sound must dissipate

through the wavering quiet; the medium. How
          large the ventricles must be.

How, in the old country, his family distilled
          the petals pulled from their rose

garden. As drink, or drug, or perfume
          applied to his own father's ears each

night, before prayers; how the burns came
          in a blacksmith's fire; how small the scar

left, how easy to see then
          what was lost.

Copyright © 2016 Matthew Minicucci All rights reserved
from Translation
Kent State University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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