David Sullivan

Making Sense

The first work of a newborn babe

Is making sense, putting the

Kaleidoscopic world in some order

It can relate to. But making sense

Is far from the universal clarity

Of enlightenment “reason.” One can be rational,

And make no sense. As Locke wrote,

"A madman argues right

From wrong principles." We have

Seen it happen. Who can help us

Make sense of the chaotic world

Of now? There is no system

To save us. Reason is turned

To gain alone. The world of experience

Is lost. Wordsworth weeps.

Last Straw

I witness

The rescue of a sea tortoise.

What is in his reptilian snout?

I watch concerned men

Hold him, trying to get

A grip on the offending matter.

His patience must be great

To endure the moments

As blood beads and runs

Down his nose.

He labors to be still

As his helpers work

To free him of the violation.

At long last, they succeed.

A plastic straw emerges, and the tortoise

Breathes freely again.

And so with care, we rescue

Creatures, so full of beauty and grace,

From ourselves.




we sat together, Mom and Dad, and watched

The evening coming down in purplish bands

Beyond the edge of the lake. We laughed and ate

Outside, engaged in talk about the kids, the past,

The hopes and worries of the day. And you

Were glad to see the house, our place, our life

In this New England town. Too far from home,

But “just the place for us to be.” I smiled,

But knew that I would never have a day

When I could just come by to visit you,

Could stop to have a bagel or a hug,

Or watch the Red Sox in the den with Dad.

We walked a bit along the road, and joked

About the exercise. We laughed again,

Enjoying moments, precious moments then.

We took a drive, watched girls chase soccer balls

Across green fields, and measured out the day

With small steps rushing onward toward its end.

At last the time was gone. With smiles and hugs

You got into your car, put bags in the rear seat,

Backed up and paused when pointed down the drive,

Looking back, smiles in profile, faces blurred

In window glass, hands raised in a final wave,

You rolled away toward home. I stayed behind,

Silent, in the purplish light, already remembering




Today branding is thought paramount.

What distinguishes us

from everyone else?

Marketing magic.

Smoke and mirrors.

A line of chatter

and a hot elevator pitch.

We forget that the word “brand”

also means an act

of violent possession.

Who owns us? In the world

of business and sales,

we become cattle

waiting for their turn

in the chute.


Homeward Bound

He just died,

            that boy who jumped the fence

                        in the sixth grade.

We were out on the playground

            when it happened:

                        a scramble up the chainlinks,

A leap into the bushes,

            a scurrying out of sight.

                        Everyone went looking for him!

Teachers, aides, even the principal.

            Walking around the schoolyard

                        And then into the streets of town,

Hoping to bring him home.

            Only hours later did they find him,

                        Curled up, dirty, asleep

under a bench in the schoolyard.

            Already at home?

                        It took him many more years

of climbing and falling

            for the cancer to bring him home

                        at last.


© 2019 Tapestry, Annual TAMUK Women & Gender Studies Journal

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