This entry is part 74 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011


Sulfur and sweetness, relish and bite:
you know it’s that good when you cry
from pleasure. Light a single votive

as you chop and mince: it helps to muffle
tears. The husk is a paper tunic, a skin
to wear like another language—

like the woman in Oregon who woke
from dental surgery surprised,
speaking with a foreign accent.

It means the house for what we think
we know is made of swirly layers—
see all those rings that fall away

on the cutting block when you
slice crosswise through? I like to think
that everything we’ve touched,

touches back; and vice versa.
See how a bug has left a red
swelling between my knuckles—

I’ll put some salve on it
until it subsides; then finger this
new site of rescue absently for days.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Mineral SongPrayer →


2 Replies to “Layers”

  1. I like to think/ that everything we’ve touched,/ touches back; and vice versa…


    We go in and out of the chambers of grace
    and afflictions in the heart of things at our
    own peril. These are houses we scarcely know

    but before long we think we have known,
    and cried at every mention of how things were
    in those days in those houses where we grew.

    We have known them all: the familiar songs,
    the loves gone by, the pains forgiven, the hurts
    that linger, and all that has touched us we now

    want to touch, maybe not with caressing hands
    but certainly with steady and soulful embraces
    that know how to let go when things must go.

    We have known them all already, we have touched
    them all. With each touch we have learned to pray.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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