Those great, gray sandwiches
that come taped back-
to-back look buoyant until you edge
your shoulder under one and
hoist. The weight’s a corpse.
Every wobble in it makes you weak.
If you flip its gray belly up
too fast, its skin cracks
along this wrinkled fault, the cardboard
bows, it buckles up the middle.
The stuff chips like stale bread.
The slab’s a mummy made of chalk,
a birthday cake wrapped up
in bandages. It can’t tense back
to clench a nail with sap,
it’s just made up, it’s rhetoric,
the cheap way to cover a mistake—
the edges of those studs you splintered,
those nails whose necks you broke,
then crucified in rage.
Everything you do is a cover-up—
the joists, each post, the flue,
even the whiskery grain of rough-cut beams
boxed in—as though anybody thought
you could deny such facts
or the fact that we have bones
that break or that the lines deepening
in your face are who you are.

:: Jonathan Holden, The Sublime (1996)

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