speak now forever the endless shout

by Rebecca Cook

this is for you,
little wee thing of ears, wee body of mouth
this burden is for you the better to hear the better to shout
this is for you,
little swiss roll cream-filled pilgrim,
little church mouse housefly entirely common,
the son of man has come to lift you,
to fill you,
to laden you cinnamon rolls jelly rolls heavy belly rolls heavy,
pressed down,
this burden is yours.

the son of man has come to outfit you,
little pack mule greyed-down and sturdy built to carry
all these,
all this,
the son of man has come to school you,
to tutor the pain, tutor the lonely,
the son of man has come and you will learn
and learn and learn and weary
with the learning of these lessons,
weary the unraveling, weary the perpetual
peeling back deeper in you little onion,
you tiny nut of fear, this is for you.

the holy river yawns,
gapes open,
the flooded river reaches the stubborn,
the broken;
you little gumshoe enormous glasses,
look up!
wee angry frightened burdened tongue-tied
plastic-wrapped caramel-centered bandit,
look up!
the son of man has come.

this song is for you, you little
periscoped tippy-toed curiosity,
be still.
not for nothing did God pluck you,
an apple, a peach, an almond-eyed toddler,
not for nothing, you little purse so pink,
so full of tears and watermelon,
there is work to be done.
the son of man has come to compassionate you,
to pet your oily, seventh-grade head
look up!
you little wail of burgeoning body,
great fiery furnace of brain
belching the corridors and doors
look up!

the son of man has come to braid your hair and set you atop
a great hill so that you will listen with your
outsized ears and heart.
little precious,
press your body upon the body of the earth
and all the shattered bones and sinews
and as-yet-unstructured wee ones waiting there
to hear you say it.

say it.
that which is broken.
say it!
say it now with all your loudness and fears loosened, unfettered.
say it!
that which is buried, crusted over, bruised eternally.
say it!
all that which is broken and lifted and balmed
and tendered and corrected,
for you.

say it!
say it now.

REBECCA COOK was a Fiction Scholar at Bread Loaf in 2009 and received her MFA from Vermont College that same year. She has published a novel, Click (New Rivers Press, 2014); and four collections of poems, The Terrible Baby (Dancing Girl Press, 2006); I Will Not Give Over (Aldrich Press, 2013); The Shadow of Water (2016), a Romanian/English collection with Romanian poet Talvescu Dumitru; and most recently, the erasure chapbook, The Best Man in the World (Dancing Girl Press, 2018), with poet Jenny Sadre-Orafai. Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Antioch Review, The Nervous Breakdown, New England Review, The Rumpus, Seneca Review, and others. Her website, Bipolar Simple, is here—godlikepoet.com

Photo: “Beach Boy” by Terry Chapman