person Emily Tuttle, three poems

Emily Tuttle is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park, where she was editor of two on campus journals and editorial assistant to ‘Poet Lore’ for two years. She has been awarded the Jimenez-Porter Literary Prize for Poetry. Previously, she has been published in Empty Mirror, Ghost City Review, Yes Poetry, and apt, among others.

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The Heart is a Halfway House

My childhood dog is dying,
and my brother doesn’t know
how to pick him up,

His gray atrophied back legs
give way
to arthritis, and he is stuck,
long toenails grasping
at slick, wood floors.

And my brother is scared
to reach underneath and sink
into the urine soaked underbelly,

rise him back to his feet, pet the
pilling skin atop his head
racked with fleas and dry age, and
whisper simple words
into his ear
to let him know he is loved—

how painful it is,
to love so close to death,
because you know how soon
they will leave.

How I did not want to pay you
a last visit, vaari,
because it was named that.

//

My Grandfather Has Grown Thin, Or How We Find Meaning in Strange Places

I took him in
because he reminded me of Donald.

When I wandered near the fields, tall greens,
sulking and bowing into yellows and browns
from thick June heat,
I found him
in their reverent wilting.

His bone arms outstretched,
chest swelling under his chin,
as he stared at them, his kin,
with the blazing look in his inked eyes
of a father
whose children had grown too fast.

He shared the same rough skin as him,
the same heavy angles
in the way his head hung,
so I walked where he was crucified,
and pulled the rusted nails from his palms,
like how mother would pull out splinters.

I laid him over my shoulders
to carry him home
as Daedalus would have carried his son,
once he washed back to shore,

We kept track of the straws
that fell from his neck,
and held them close for later,
to weave back in his chest.

Finally, once laid in bed,
his broken arms now straight at his sides,
his limbs opened at the seams, deflated—

it was as though he was never gone.

///

Losing Touch is an Art Form

You drew pictures of
the wildflowers
hooded girls would
pick,
wilting paper
statues
wishing on
dandelion eyes,
sapling limbs and
unturned leaf
hands
aching,
unassuming,
learning how to leave
as a person
and return
as a fable.

///

 

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