The Poetry of Lloyd Grey Held

Family Tree

The Poetry of Lloyd Grey Held


There's something amazingly
stable about a cable stitch.
From my chair I watch you.
The tendons in your wrists
assert themselves. The clicking
needles turn the boundless
into thousands of closures. It's
our marriage you're knitting,
the version I believe?
no more roadblocks,
no holdbacks,
no bodyguards.
We don't leave weeping
Lock and lock bolt, cup
and saucer,
every pair completed.

Wrestling with the Kids

It's all silliness and seriousness,
and I have gotten used to tamping
down my strength, so as not to be
the threat. They get me
in a headlock. When they pin me,
my chest pressed to the hull of ribs,
I could practically
crush them. I could lose
the radar that says a wrist is
getting twisted. I could hurt them
and they'd cry a tiny bit. It's so
hard to keep on that throttled edge.
No fun for them, if I'm
a namby-pamby, so I hold
my breath till my face gets red
and the vessels in my forearms
rage. They assert the willful
hinges of their little elbows,
and when it's all over they ask,
if I tried my hardest.


Balance is a riddle my father solves
lowering his body into the sagging
canvas deck chair,
steadying himself
with his hand on my shoulder.

My father is barefoot, 88,
in khaki shorts, white shirt.
I get his shoes from the welcome mat,
shake sand from their arch supports,
from the wing's tips.
Sunlight creases the thin
topography of leather,
soft as the soles of his feet.

My father cannot tie his laces.
so I kneel down
touch the frail stem
that links his ankle bone and knee,
cradle his heel like a parenthesis in my lap,
slide the tongue,
ease my finger back behind
the crisscross eyelet ladders.

I loop double knots,
align ribs of cotton socks,
curl the edges down,
the way he likes them,
until nothing hides
the war scar on his ankle
that glistens like a satin ribbon.

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