Parker Jamieson, The Dying in Each Day

The Morning when Taking Out the Compost became a Ritual of Overcoming

The grass was wet
with ageless dew.
Yet, we placed each
foot before the
other and slipped
through to compost
the leftovers
of our breakfast:
eggshells and chicken
bones. The sun rose
quickly, equipped
with unfazed hues.
With our feet cool
and our tummies
filled, we smiled at
each other and
took a breath of
our age from the
gratitude of
air in the hills.
Years from now, the
Compost will wet
Our wrinkled toes.

The Dying in each Day

Lately, I’ve begun to pray
In various churches. The pews hold me
In their palm, much like my mother
Held my head when I was too young to sit up straight.
I will never grow small,

The trees will never seem crowded
With fabled birdsong and melodramatic mystery.
My child, a piece of me in repetition,
Will shimmer through the same process
Groping for consolation, bleeding

With urgency—like the lesson of teeth,
there is only one set. As my hands,
Grown by concrete and ink, grope with prayer.
Like their mother, our child
Will not supplant the blessing of a smile.
All the various statements and news articles

Crumble like kindling as I pray
For the dying in each day—my
Palms folded, where my breath lays
Its stressed feathers, on the over-analyzed grains
Of the pew. With stale hibiscus in the air

Chocked with pardons begging,
I hold myself up straight with the voice of my mother
While the chaos of worrying voices and dim confessions
In phone booths tucked in corners before alleys
Grow loud, organized, and clear.
And every action after Amen is an antecedent.

Oh, the crematory is also a factory,
But not my wife—she’s an artist.
Father? No. No. No. He bothers the act
Of forgiveness with defect, with urgency
Like the lesson of meat,
‘If you let the food go to waste, then your hearts debased.’
It’s not the prayer, father, it’s the act of recognition—
Listen to how clear the world sounds
When feet are flat on the ground.
Ah! father, you are long gone.
I have been arguing against you in my prayers.
I’ve been arguing against my own thoughts of you.
My unheard slip will not debase the prayer, Gracefulness is fair.

The statues of saints bring me stillness.
I am groped by the kneeling winks of mortality.
The monks, nuns, and priests bring me whispers
That scream in sureness of their words.
I cannot be marble like the saints or wait to greet,
Like the monks, nuns, and priests

For the dying in each day.
Then the quiet and unhandled meat
Around the bone as I bow and fold
Is my home, temple, village, biosphere.
As the blue-green orb turns

And its energetic counterparts
Orbit along, within the colorful motion,
I zoom into my own small counties
To forgive myself—To forgive others,
Urgently, through a spectrum of farewells
as though they were particular hells).

Yes. Lately I’ve begun to pray.


When you turn a quarter-of-a-century,
Measure your height on the door that
Is taped with the height of your young
Body. When I went to measure myself,
I remembered my parents were divorced
And I had lived in a different house
For years. When you notice you’re apart
Of a century, you notice that you are
Ancient as air. You don’t need this poem
To notice you are a relic of your childhood.

[Quiet Air]

The breath is a constituent
for the plurality of space.
Tomorrow, when I am caught
in the intimacy of dawn,
I will remember this plurality —
I will remember the spaces,
in which the quiet air exhales
into words, that grapple
onto the non-binary water,
leaving the world in a crest.

Parker Jamieson is an existentialist who has, and continues, to survive in a world of neglect. He writes about personal experiences with mental issues, abuse, and the ritual of human activity. He has worked at the Marilla Cemetery for seven years as a gravedigger, which is a place and a job where many of his poems have been inspired, and continue to transpire. He attends the University of Buffalo to study for a pre-law degree in philosophy and creative writing. He loves reading perhaps even more than writing and thanks you for reading this.

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