Local Lit

LOCAL LIT: ‘A Brief Lecture on the Tear’

a poem by Max Garland

Max Garland |

Here’s where the young sea practices

its way around the world. Here

in the continual film over the eye.


Which reminds me how few tears

ever really fall, one in millions.

The rest retreat like tiny waves


or simply wash back and forth

in the tide across the cornea,

having nothing to do with sadness.


So the world is seen through

the thinnest of oceans, a petal

of oil and seawater on every eye.


And whatever face or flower

we turn to, is anchored

in that distortion


between the slim grace of salt

and the blink of the eye

that washes it away.


Max Garland’s latest book is The Word We Used for It, winner of the Brittingham Poetry Prize. Born in Kentucky, he worked for many years as a rural letter carrier on the route where he was born. He attended Western Kentucky University, where his undergraduate advisor, reviewing his meandering academic record, told him his “only hope” was to become a poet, which he still considers an irresponsible thing to tell any kid. He is currently professor emeritus at UW-Eau Claire, served as Eau Claire’s Writer-in-Residence, and is the former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin. Read more by and about Max here.


comments 0