Keeping Things Whole

Trey Ratcliff:

A field. Emptiness and wholeness.

Today, I treat you to a favorite poem by Mark Strand, “Keeping Things Whole.” It goes everywhere with me in the pocket of my writer’s notebook. It’s mostly memorized. I still remember where I was sitting when I first read this poem. I was in a Parlin classroom on the UT-Austin campus, and spring was coming. There was construction going on outside. I could hear a squirrel, and the poem made me cry.

Keeping Things Whole

In a field

I am the absence

of field.

This is

always the case.

Wherever I am

I am what is missing.

When I walk

I part the air

and always

the air moves in

to fil the spaces

where my body’s been.

We all have reasons for moving.

I move

to keep things whole.


Visit this poem and others at POETRY OUT LOUD.


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