Originally from Yorkshire, ed is a poet who lives in Redlands with his wife and two young daughters. Teaching writing at Crafton Hills College, ed is dedicated to forwarding the literary arts in San Bernardino County and works as the President of PoetrIE, a 501(c)(3) that provides support to local writers. ed’s work has appeared in Ink, Sweat, and Tears, New Walk Magazine, Within Darkness & Light, MUSE, The Pacific Review, and Inlandia.
Proving the Seam
I remember walking—having come home again, being about to leave again—with him, back along the bank of the canal.
I remember talking, debriding, with the usual caution, what wounding I’d more than likely and quite recently given to him.
I remember pointing, deflecting attention to all things concrete I’d count on to stand in for what I didn’t want to say.
I remember waiting, debating whether to go on without him, when he stopped half way to the bridge and the road home.
I remember complaining, blaming his age, his ego, his unconscionable sense of performance, of self-importance.
I remember scoffing, dismissing, as he raised his stick, the intricate and accurate mapping of what he said was beneath us.
I remember looking then, stepping forward then, following the line he reckoned in the air then and for once feeling where
the whole coal face pushed up out under and away from us—the seam and all its faults having always been not quite there.
Frail pipe cleaner, animate and tender, double-jointed little finger, precise curl, hemidemi- semiquaver;
doodle, serif, curlicue, flourish thrown off; this loop of tape inching across the table, is, in no small measure
an inspiration to us all, or at the very least, to the lost souls on Reddit who watch, over and over and over,
this gif of an inch worm’s encounter with a gap it can’t comprehend, yet always endlessly, in the end, spans.
I routed so hard for the lil wormyguy. just like lil worm, you’ll get to the other side. keep going, and don’t give up.
Again watch it waver in the air, bewildered by the volume it senses there, only to reach, spire a precarious bridging
in this part of the internet’s openhearted forum with ourselves: in the slim margins of the imagination,
of our honest, if ever once we were, love of something else—so absurd, so touching, in its childlike march on meaning.
Every day, or every other day, at least, my daughter and I must’ve seen her face, talked to her, the barista.
And here she is, rising to meet us at the market where we have crossed to pick a tree out from the truck bed.
I choose Coast Live Oak and it’s that I’m clutching when we turn and are suddenly past and present before her.
She’s crestfallen, that much is certain, because of the failure in me to recognize her, and in my daughter who once pleaded
with me to take a detour here, to make a study of her name, and agonized over its mouthful of vowel,
its lumpish contour of syllable that escapes her even now—how long? only three months and it’s gone.
Aurora, don’t be sad—she carries your name, not on the tip of her tongue, perhaps, but lodged inextricably in the body,
like a coin planted in the bark of an oak, its stamp erased, by the slow, luxuriating growth over and over its name.
For the first time in forever, I sit and watch, and I mean really watch, cable news on my father-in-law’s TV.
He’s away, so today instead of Fox, CNN plays across the rippling OLED screen: Anderson Cooper looms,
towers over the room, every gesture more organic, more real than they, seemingly, strictly speaking, should be.
His presence floods the space, saturates my vision, and I find myself agreeing with merely his manifestation,
for how can the big magic of his sympathy hold back anything from me? I see it all, the truth, the fall: such candour! such disclosure!
And suddenly I’m him, my father-in-law, I mean, participating in this tall, stacked fire, stoking the flames, feeling the heat from a
reality so real, I don’t need to care whether my own checks and balances are still there or not; they’re not,
I’m long gone, I’m in love with my vision of what’s to come, the impossibly chiselled jaw jutting from the screen.
One morning, when the words weren’t coming, I sidetracked from the poem, shunning every quiet decision to be made, and Googled
“best cardio machine for the home,” and poked around in the results, only to walk it back from the brink of committing.
So when I went to YouTube for “Pink Noise Ten Hours” the first thing that pings my way is this targeted ad. for a NordicTrack.
The pumping score builds over tracking shots of tiny individuals sprinting across impossible landscapes: salt flats stretching unseen
miles; thundering cataracts dropping to nowhere; a rocky peninsula scaling rapidly to a tiny promontory on the horizon.
It enters my life so suddenly that, like a smell it stands next to me in the room, wholly manifest in its intent.
And though I’m quick to shut it down I know it must have reached some part of me privy to how it wants me to believe
earnestly in the immanent availability of all the good it promises, if only I could consummate its pursuit of me.