Wednesday 5 February 2014

2 Poems by Gerald Yelle

There Doesn’t seem to Be a Way to Feel Better

While my father was still around
for me to wrap my arms around
I held myself back. I didn’t
want to ruffle the feathers of his
breastbone or listen to his heart’s
sweet murmur. The feeling
would’ve been wrong. I wouldn’t
want him feeling smothered.
I wouldn’t want my sons doing it
to me if it felt the least bit
insincere. As if kangaroo aphids
were propped in the corners
of our grimaces. I’d thrash out
with war plans. A father can only
stand so much. The same goes
for sons. Their last best hope
is the spirit of the walking stick.


What makes people scream the most are the weird discoveries. Suddenly we can regenerate body
parts –well, not exactly suddenly: it takes 10 years to grow a new finger –but just a few years ago
no one had ever heard of growing a new finger. We think whole arms and legs would grow back
–but you’d have to live about 1,000 years for it to happen. It would take that long.

Other things freak us out: How easy it is to graft parts of other people’s bodies –it’s like we have
the same DNA –our immune systems no longer attack organs and limbs from even the most
distant donors. And body parts don’t decay as fast as they used to, so an arm transplant or even a
heart transplant can be done without fear of losing tissue viability –or whatever it’s called.

I’ll tell you what really freaks me out though: It’s the people who decide to merge two heads on
one body. Talk about BFFs for life! A marriage of two minds –forget about it. And they act like
it’s funny. Wait till they get sick of each other. We’ll see how funny it is then.

They say people eat their own fingers in some places –just for the heck of it –some sick fashion
fad. In a couple of years when they’re half grown out it’ll look like they have baby fingers.


Gerald Yelle  teaches English, journalism and creative writing at Greenfield (MA) High School.  He has recently published poems in The Naugatuck River Review, Lyre Lyre and Electric Windmill and has poems forthcoming in The Bicycle Review and Third Wednesday . He is a member of the Florence (MA) Poets Society.  Notes, comments and links can be found at  <> wrote:

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