I know it’s tired, but it’s the holidays
and I want to say something about the tenth
being taken from a hundred to bring the rest
in line. I keep thinking of the men, short-strawed
and serving, standing in for a brother. Oh, decem,
you’re in our sums and our seasons, the gaps
where martyrs would stand, shaped like bakers
or fathers in yards catching sons from the air
made collateral. I want to explain the way I feel
by year’s end, the scientific notation into which
I’ve learned we’ve all been funneled and this family
of language is in all of it. The point of that cut
was never the dead soldiers, but how you’d always
feel the loss just enough to push through it.
Jeremy Rock is pursuing an MFA at the University of Alabama and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Poet Lore, The Shore, Sugar House Review, and elsewhere.