local_library Mending Art

by Robert Dana

Published in Issue No. 122 ~ July, 2007
A long fall.

Our winged whimsy, Art,

sailing above the kitchen soffit atop his little figured house–

a lopsided star above leaping orange fish and green waves in front,

a sea scallop in a heart out back–

penates of culinary skills and poetry–

went crashing yesterday,

nudged by a shadow.


All those divine powers gone smash in an instant.

One black clodhopper,

his star wand and the raised arm that blessed all below with light,

his round head with its hair shocked outright,

his whole riven body,

rivering across the floor.


It’s a frail music knits the world together.

A little god made of sticks and paint. Ruddy cheeked and cheerful.

Sailing up

on awning-striped wings.


deceptions of distance,

distortions of perspective.

Holding his small head in my hands now,

I see his eyes are wide, his cheeks pallid,

the perfectly round mouth shaping a single frozen note–Oh!–of–

is it fear or surprise–?

O O O O!


Rainy, grey, and cold.


A week’s gone by, and this morning it’s still evening.

The god’s head and star-wand still drift the kitchen counter.

His torso, one splintered leg, and his raised arm

lay morgued in a cardboard box on a worktable in the garage

waiting for the miracle of reassembly.

So far all glues have failed.

I think this god is made of alder wood.

I think this god is made of apple or elm.

A grain that doesn’t bond.


Shadow sits in the window now.

A flute warbles on the stereo from some far symphonic arbor.

I study the sodden trees, silvered leaves.

And I think about kindling a fire in the fireplace

to drive the chill off,

to sweeten this empty neighborhood with smoke.

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Robert Dana, currently Poet Laureate for the state of Iowa, has published 10 collections of poetry, including his most recent The Morning of the Red Admirals (Anhinga Press, 2004). His previous poetry collections include tarting Out for the Difficult World (Harper & Row, 1987), which was short listed for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize; Yes, Everything (Another Chicago Press, 1994); Hello, Stranger: Beach Poems (Anhinga Press, 1996); and Summer (Anhinga Press, 2000). Dana was also the editor of Against the Grain: Interviews with Maverick American Publishers (University of Iowa Press, 1986) and A Community of Writers: Paul Engle and the Iowa Writers' Workshop (University of Iowa Press, 1999).