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Sometimes There Are No Pieces To Pick Up

 Marc Pietrzykowski
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 Marc Pietrzykowski
Sometimes There Are No Pieces To Pick Up
by Marc Pietrzykowski  FollowFollow
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The world is filled with impossible stories. Robert Ripley roamed the world collecting them for his comic strip, Believe It or Not!, and I read...read more small paperback collections of the strip voraciously as a child, wishing I could have a job that cool when I was big. I collected my own stories for a while, clipping from the newspaper stories like the one where Sheila Wentworth crashed her car head on into a car driven by her sister, Doris Jean Hall, on a highway outside of Six Mile, Alabama--now that was a hell of a coincidence, and the fact that both sisters died made it that much more incredible-but then that habit faded and another craze ascended, for punk rock, or maybe Dr. Who. But I held on to my fascination for impossible stories, the ones that help remind us how our dull, cankered lives are part of some greater pattern or at least help make us believe, for a moment, a pattern might exist. That's why I still look for impossible stories in the spare moments of my life. Sometimes I think I have too many spare moments. I know I don't have enough stories.
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Sometimes There Are No Pieces To Pick Up
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Everything that ever mattered
is out in that lake somewhere
turning to muck.

All the chalkboards and the airplanes
and the salt shakers and inkwells,
all the coffee machines,

prescription pads, picture frames,
everything we lived through,
every little machine heart

and machine corpuscle
is out under the water,
and it's not even blue.

It's not even shiny, it reflects
nothing, not the tumid, bloody sun
clinging to cloud's edge like a tick,

not the loons, not the kestrels,
not even the wind--
the water is gray and indifferent

free of dimension, nameless.
But wow, what a party! We've earned a nap.
We earned it with every toast and cheer,

with every candy cane, every burst
of garland and twinkling
coffin hinge, all those things we stuffed

and mounted like trophy heads
and tried to hang on the walls,
knowing the walls were really a river,

and that when we tried
to hang our trophies, they would sink
or be carried away

to the delta, to the lake,
to the grey water
that swallows even the stones we cast

without offering a ripple, a splash;
for all we know, we've been
casting stones at the sky.

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