Cathexis Northwest Press

© 2018 

BEARING IMAGES

Is it worth dragging around this bag of sunsets, dewed ferns, and first kisses; 

of my dad’s Thurman Munson bat broken in two and buried to hide next 

to a fig tree in St. Maria Goretti’s churchyard; of all the noses I’ve broken 

kickboxing, including my own, which slipped a jab right into a hard-swung 

shin bone; of those iron tracks in Riverside, I used to walk on nights I was high, 

and that one freight train’s headlight, like god’s howling eye, that I dove away 

from just before its momentum sucked me under; of the stiff faces of every wake 

I’ve known; all bottlenecking this bag’s canvas mouth, with my hands trading 

off as they exhaust. The crowded end, like a fat tulip bulb, trails yards behind, 

avoiding the gutted drops of city potholes—lest their troubled bounce forever 

jumble parted lips soothed in globs of flavorless chapstick with a streaked 

horizon’s parade of rubedo and gold across a Brooklyn rooftop’s spread gravel.

 

Avoiding too, the gnarled snags of broken men and glass, because a seam split 

over either pointed Bordeaux-carrier could mean the spill of all I’ve hoarded. 

I’m never sure how many others there are with bags wrenching skeletal columns 

into the shape of hunched question marks. The sky’s vistas from Oklahoma to Osaka, 

are light to lug, like silk dress shirts folded small enough to be worn by two eyes, 

but both lip caresses and loved one’s faces carry nerves anvil-heavy and lively 

stripped like frayed wire—nerves that may smother or electrocute the poor ferns 

or that old fig tree, if I so much as stagger. I wonder why I keep this burden, 

on days when tracts of wandering cumulus clouds soak up the dew speckling 

leafed veins, the spilt plasma of busted noses, and all the sloppy first saliva, 

slicking eager backseats and pooled below the awnings of apartment buildings;

days when condensation turns to rain, which rusts the rail tracks and makes 

the bulb too heavy to drag. I pause, and consider release. 

 

But don’t, having collected it all so carefully.

Michael Ventura-Rogers runs an indoor softball and baseball training facility in Long Beach, CA. Mental and physical programs that he has created and implemented have led to over 150 college softball scholarships to top D1, D2, and D3 schools across the country (the majority of these female athletes were the first in their families to attend universities). He received his MFA in poetry from California State University, Long Beach and is the former art editor of its RipRap Literary Magazine. His poetry has been featured in Serving House Journal.