Mortar

Mortar (I). © Chris Bronsk 2015.

“Paul removed his coat and pulled the trowel from his belt. He stood nervously. Old Santos left him. No one watched him now. He reached the trowel down into the mortar. Slice down toward him, edgewise twist in quick short circle and scoop up away from him. The trowel came up half-covered with mortar—but how heavy! He dropped it back into the tub and worked the trowel back and forth in the mortar just as he had seen the bricklayers do. The feel of flexible steel trowel in pliant warm plushy soon-to-be stone. The wet rub of mortar on tender skin…the first fleshly sense of Job, Job who would give living to mother Annunziata and the little ones. He gathered straight unchipped red brick and layed them dry in lengthwise string. Then he went over to the building, studied the bond of a corner, and fixed it in his eye.”—Pietro di Donato, Christ in Concrete

Merrimack

Merrimack. © Chris Bronsk 2015.

“I kept experimenting. My notes are full of the designs I drew at night while Leona did mothering things. I made diamond-shaped trees, cathedral-shaped trees, a bird cage, a ladder, a zigzag, a telephone booth, a spiral, a heart, a tree with a knot in it—twenty years’ worth of evenings, sitting in a barn drawing plans and building forms to direct the trees. I do not know if I was ever wanted in the house; it never occurred to me that I could belong there.” —Angela Pelster, from “Inosculation,” in Limber (Sarabande, 2014)

Stations

Roque Island Afternoon. © Chris Bronsk 2015.

“The cedar waxwings swarmed the backyard this afternoon—at least a thousand of them—and the radio I had been listening to went static with their coming and then switched to a French station I could not understand. I moved from my table to the window to watch the birds feed on the red mountain ash berries. Poor trees. They looked so patient in the snow, so resigned to being stripped of their color for the sake of the birds…

“It has been discovered that trees communicate with one another below the ground through root systems and fungi. I do not know if they communicate with birds, but it seems possible in a world where all manner of unimaginable things happens in places seen and unseen, in forests and gardens and parks.”

Angela Pelster, from “Les Oiseaux” in Limber (Sarabande, 2014).