2013 Poetry Month #10 – Cartoon Physics, Part 2

The poem “Cartoon Physics, Part 2” is written by Nick Flynn and published in his book Some Ether (2000, by Graywolf Press).


Cartoon Physics, Part 2

Years ago, alone in her room, my mother cut
a hole in the air

& vanished into it. The report hung &
deafened, followed closely by an over-

whelming silence, a ringing
in the ears. Today I take a piece of chalk

& sketch a door in a wall. By the rules
of cartoon physics only I

can open this door. I want her
to come with me, like in a dream of being dead,

the mansion filled with cots,
one for everyone I’ve ever known. This desire

can be a cage, a dream that spills
into waking, until I wander this city

as a rose-strewn funeral. Once
upon a time, let’s say, my mother stepped

inside herself & no one
could follow. More than once

I traded on this, until it transmuted into a story,
the transubstantiation of desire,

I’d recite it as if I’d never told anyone,
& it felt that way,

because I’d try not to cry yet always
would, & the listener

would always hold me. Upstairs the water
channels off you, back

into the earth, or to the river, through pipes
hidden deep in these walls. I told you the story

of first learning to write my own name, chalk
scrawl across our garage door,

so that when my mother pulled it down I’d
appear, like a movie.

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