Grace Grafton

God, labor, and Exotic Materials

We put gold around the drilled-down nub of our
decaying tooth. We want to live longer, don’t want
to quiver with pain each time we bite down
on what’s going to save our lives. Spring, summer,
another day kindled, another burial avoided,
a strawberry, a morsel of meat, a flash in the smile.
It’s said that Ramses, and the Emperor Qi,
built monuments and the Great Wall, tombs
that included the sky and all the materials
for cooking, manufacturing, decorating –
it is said they did this as wish or expectation
of eternal life. It takes a lot of work
to stay alive; it takes a lot of someone else’s
work to build another world. Gold
is good for no practical use except
to insulate the nerve of a tooth but
it mimics the sun and we are dazzled.
We want to bring it up each day, like Ramses.
We know now that if anything deserves to be
called god/creator, it is the sun. We know
silver has no practical use but it is
the color of the stars and didn’t some
scientist prove, much of our matter is
made of the dust of exploded stars?


Grace Marie Grafton’s most recent book, Jester, was published by Hip Pocket Press. She is the author of six collections of poetry. Her poems won first prize in the Soul Making contest (PEN women, San Francisco), in the annual Bellingham Review contest, Honorable Mention from Anderbo and Sycamore Review, and have twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Poems recently appear in Sin Fronteras, The Cortland Review, Canary, CA Quarterly, Askew, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and West Trestle Review.

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