The National Catholic Review
This morning, I hauled to the street
A heavy wooden pallet, so beat
The workmen had left it behind:
Its boards, rough-hewn and splintering
Against the asphalt. When I leaned
It on the dumpster, with some twine
And flattened cardboard boxes, too,
For the trash-man, a March gust blew
And overturned what I had built.
The hard wood clattered on the road
And split, exposed its secret load
Of bent and rusted nails, now spilled,
Scattered like seeds, like teeth and bones,
Awaiting tires, the feet of those
Too lost in song to watch their step.
One nail stared up from the cracked wood.
I plucked it out, just as they would
Who returned you to your mother’s lap.

James Matthew Wilson was a runner-up in the 2015 Foley Poetry contest. His most recent books are "Some Permanent Things" and "The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry."

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