416 Readings

Please Explain Please Explain Please

Every man might have a winter
he holds secret to himself,
a night so cold the ears
of cattle brittle and break,
a vast dark he can only cross
as men cross from the barn
to the house in a blizzard:
by holding to a rope
stretched between certainties.

When I say barn, I mean
his outward face. When I say
the house, the rooms collapse
and the whole thing folds flat.
If I knew a man and he had
a face underneath the face
I knew, if he had the potential

in him for deeds done best
not at all and I didn’t see
that face—am I to blame
that the openings on my own
mask were too small to see
through? No, I don’t know
what the rope is made of. 
Posted 09/25/16
originally published in 45th Parallel
Books by Rebecca Hazelton