Such a tiny little box to carry a soul

Two poems by Mark DiFruscio

Mark DiFruscio is a San Diego–based writer and filmmaker.
  • Mark DiFruscio is a San Diego–based writer and filmmaker.

Remains

  • Such a tiny little box
  • to carry a soul
  • Faux wood
  • with a walnut coat
  • What does it hold?
  • One foot wide
  • and six inches deep,
  • large enough for a person
  • 170 pounds before
  • cremation.
  • A hand-carved Tree of Life,
  • In Loving Memory of inscribed —
  • unscrew, slide out to insert
  • plastic bag of human ash,
  • sculpt a hole
  • in the February frozen soil
  • to let go
  • of all the inflections you gave my name —
  • want, envy, shame, bully-rage —
  • I hold on
  • to a backwards glance
  • at the nightly bedtime game we played
  • how you tested me in the dark of the room
  • we shared, pointed to the logo
  • of every team
  • on our matching NFL sheets
  • until I could name them each
  • for you.

Birthday

  • I lost you two weeks before my birthday
  • before we ever met, my springtime child
  • second chance, to salvage a splinter
  • of the possible self
  • I had hoped to become
  • when I still believed that the world
  • was somehow shaped
  • by how we try to live, and to care
  • for those we love —
  • a father who paints twilight sailboats
  • for his lost favorite son,
  • a mother grown mawkish, twisted bitter
  • by so many of her life’s letdowns —
  • and nothing restores the empty womb,
  • barrenness transgresses winter months
  • drains the green from the leaves, from the trees, from the soil
  • and the cry of a wound
  • defies any formula
  • of words.

Mark DiFruscio is a San Diego–based writer and filmmaker. He earned his MFA in film production from the University of Southern California, where he produced the documentary Dog People. His writing has appeared in Fiction International and pacific REVIEW

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