B Y   F A R R Y L   L A S T

T H E   D A Y   A   M A N   D R O V E   I N T O   T H E   T R E E    

Farryl Last is a 2015 MFA graduate from Hunter College. She has developed and taught undergraduate courses and works in the field of study abroad. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Maine Review, Entropy, Word Riot, Hermeneutic Chaos, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry, among others. She once lived in Mantua, Italy, and taught English there.

​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

It was sunny before it was night. Girl full with the sun.
Think how it would feel to have the sun split
shards like off the inside golden bell of a trombone
and scatter, molecules dashing, warm hoofbeats
or drumbeats against crystallized sky. That night the first
time girl sees her great aunt’s concert though she had
imagined many times the way arms sliced and divided
the air. The way they conjured treble and bass into tapestry.
The lilt and weave of woolly threads gathered like grasses
horse-beaten into flat. The long lisp of that animal cry.
Try to imagine the feeling if you could make all
the world’s sounds come out. Girl on her uncle’s lap
as the instruments tune and then play the first notes
and she pushes out a whistle, faint, she thinks, to get the feeling
she too was music. If she was, she was then a whittled
bat, a trapped night-screech loosed after in a
sun-drunk field. Already wondering if she was afraid:
patted her newborn sister’s back while parents helped
outside, sang her lullabies she didn’t know so she would keep
sleeping. Girl: six. Girl wearing her favorite dress
splattered with red yellow purple flowers, it pulled
tight against the insides of arms when at the end
she sprints with her cousin to the high lip of the stage offering
a bouquet to the great aunt and she pulled her up
by the underarms whispering my granddaughters, my granddaughters.
The feeling for something you’re not but don’t mind pretending.
The feeling for when the whole orchestra timpani-booms
a laugh backstage after your great aunt asks your favorite
part and you have no word for when the last movement swelled
like all the footsteps and heartbeats in a circus and that happiness
so you only say the end. Try to imagine the sonic boom
of impact in the front yard. This is the sound you won’t
remember. In the car back home girl sits on her uncle’s lap
and he says he heard her whistle. She never said
I’m sorry. They say light clapped his eyes or shivered, leaving
a dogwood-sized hole.