If you want an example of patience,

by Casey Patrick

imagine drowning, or
the desert’s thirsty ground.
The Penelopes of history, every Aegeus
throwing a stone down an empty well.
The whole idea of fishing. The fact of glue and tape.
Any of these will do.
A mirror. A beetle. God
or whatever’s out there kicking its small legs.
Or a three-year-old trying to sit still for a lifetime of five minutes.
That work. Lucifer chained to a lake of fire.
The first time anyone heard that. How long they imagined
they could stand it.

Don’t forget your mother
and how you’ve grown to resemble her. Consider
the infinite groping of tongues,
how many languages there are to get through.
And our hands. And our teeth. Our skin.
The heart with no murmur. The eye
with the right balance of moisture, not too dry. It seems

we are endlessly patient, then.
The countdown to the explosion.
The slow work of aiming. Shining our flashlights
at night that swallows
our callused feet. And our skulls,
fusing by age two. The way we love someone
from a distance. And the way love rips out
the seams of us, stitch by stitch in the night.

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About Casey Patrick

Casey Patrick's poems and interviews have recently appeared in Fourteen Hills and Willow Springs. A former publishing assistant at Milkweed Editions, she currently works as a bookseller and a teaching artist with The Loft Literary Center. She is the 2014–2015 Hub City writer-in-residence.

Casey Patrick

Casey Patrick is online at