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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 76

There is Only One Cord

Grab whichever end you like.

Tears sizzle on your body’s anvil,
umbilical superhero, sea wall
breached, cut lilies, finch flight.

When muscle rips, it strengthens.
Life is no masochist’s playroom.
Pain is groundwork, is double
the bus ride & locked bathroom
mirrors shaking down your
reflection for clues. You are only
as broken as you are distracted.

In a perfect world, no one
would be furious. Or happy.
Joy is the fugue we are meant
to hear. It rhymes in triple time
inside the rag wet paw of a kangaroo,
the hand of a beaten child,
eyes of heartsick felons.

Cheer cuts the rope of
our mooring, spills our spark.

Pythagoras theorized
that happiness squared
equals joy, then went back
to triangles, defeated.

Joy is the frequency
of whale song, slave quarter
telepathy, deerskin
pounding in Georgian forests
of stolen dirt. Happiness is
dragon gold, a birthday wish.
Joy dances regardless, cranks
the portcullis of resiliency’s castle,
tells happiness to find another
heart to storm.

Joy dangles us from cliff edge,
anchored to memories of cornbread
& kissing, moon jazz & Istanbul
frying its fish in seven languages.

Nature chimes in with scale—
every carcass, mudslide
& cave crammed with skulls.

We rise like salted warships.

The cord bends—any hand
touches another with ease.

We were never cut
from another’s breathing—
only tethered

to practice
the slow & joyous
art of dying.

  Matt Pasca