Robin Becker shared with us two poems, a nod to the character of Harvey Tolman, from her book The Black Bear Inside Me.
Since Harvey’s on his tractor for the first cutting of the summer I’m glad I picked paintbrush hawkweed and daisies early this morning Wild turkeys squawking at the edge of the mowing complain his noisy occupation displeases them exposed to fox and falcon now Where will they hide to feed He chose today for the dry breeze rifling rush and bluestem
All of July and August lie ahead but I want only June light dappling mountain ash They say to live in the present requires we let go every second of our lives He keeps a mowing by mowing for July’s meadow rue and asters To live in the present they say become a fern a prism a membrane through which time mows
Harvey says it’ll hold for now meaning the gasket he’s rigged to stop the leak in the water tank
it’s what he says when he conjures a grasp of wood notched to catch a door that always swung shut his supply
of couplers and pipe makes visible the makeshift nature of our daily operations the contingencies
he concocts from the hardware store of his truck to hold for now electrical and structural salvations he believes
in the temporal the neighborly the seasonal the salvaging of all re-usable metal and wood in the inevitable
breakdowns coming towards us about which he chuckles installs a stop valve and tightens the joint by hand
knowing a system undergoing a thermodynamic process can never completely return to its previous state
and a leaky valve in faucet or heart requires mechanical gods who say wiping their hands it’ll hold for now
sutured duct-taped now rubber-banded now stretching elastic now to reach at least next week
Robin Becker received the Lambda Award in Poetry for All-American Girl and has held fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard. Her books include Tiger Heron, Domain of Perfect Affection, The Horse Fair, and GiacomettiÕs Dog. Professor Emeritus of English and WomenÕs Studies at Penn State, Becker serves as poetry and contributing editor for the WomenÕs Review of Books.