Tuesday, July 24, 2018

"Reprise" by Terri Lynn Cummings

Reprise
Terri Lynn Cummings

"Scoliosis" Watercolor on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
Archeology (not music)
gained parents’ approval
for a university degree
My hands touched history--
personalized death
while people died like minutes

I knew they were similar--
an ancient corpse tossed in a grave 
found beneath a parking lot
and grandfather, regal in a suit
buried in a cotton field
They ruled by traditions 

narrow as hatchets, rigid 
as armor, while those shields 
protected and excluded them
The past, honest in its shadow
never shrinks from dishonor
or a jawbone, teeth intact

with nothing to chew 
but the wreck of time 
on bones like my back--
twisted as a sinner 
or a bootlegger 
or a king

Poet’s Notes:  Scoliosis runs on the paternal side of my family. Fortunately, medical science, technology, and a pair of fine surgeons made it possible to repair my back. Meanwhile, I had always felt sorry for King Richard III, labeled deformed, and who did not have the hope of relief. I used to imagine the pain he would have experienced while on horseback--especially since I saw how similar his curvature was to mine. 

I found the title for this poem after it was written. A friend suggested I use a musical term for the word repeat or repetition. I chose “reprise” to indicate medical issues are sometimes inherited or repeated. 

As for the jawbone (mentioned in the next to last stanza), I saw an ancient one at Caesarea, Israel. Part of an archaeological team, I examined it while standing inside a recently excavated Crusader soldier’s grave. I’ll never forget it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

SONGS OF ERETZ EXISTS TO PROMOTE ITS POETS AND THEIR POETRY. ACCORDINGLY, ONLY POSITIVE COMMENTS WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR PUBLICATION.

If you wish to provide suggestions, feedback, or constructive criticism to the Songs of Eretz staff, please send your thoughts to Editor@SongsOfEretz.com. You may or may not receive a response, but your thoughts will be read.