“Idiots” by Aleyna Rentz

Aleyna Rentz


made this place.
Providence Canyon:
one of the seven wonders of Georgia,
a two-hundred-foot dent in the ground
of Stewart County, courtesy of farmers
with bad irrigation techniques. 
Imagine the luck: fucking up
so massively your failure
is designated a state park
where millennial couples
in hiking boots climb down
the valleys of your ineptitude,
taking selfies, smiling,
and park rangers 
in khaki shorts and bucket hats
patrol the edges of your shame
so nobody else falls in.
A photographer twists her lens
and aims—merciless!
The world is cratered
with quieter fuckups: 
your footsteps, mine.
A pillow’s soft sinkhole. 
A body missing 
like a ditch dug out of air. 
Every fist an asteroid, 
every low mood a trench.
And sometimes red clay and limestone
gape at the sky like an idiot’s drooling mouth,
dumbfounded and asking forgiveness.
Believe me, it will come: in cairns and tents 
and kids who pay a quarter to look 
through a set of fixed binoculars,
seeing magnified nothing 
but what’s right there. 

from Rattle #79, Spring 2023


Aleyna Rentz: “A few years ago, I visited Providence Canyon (or what Georgians like to call the ‘Little Grand Canyon’) with my family. Though we’d lived near Providence Canyon my whole life, I’d never been, and I was stunned—who knew we had such an incredible landscape so close to home? I thought it was hilarious that a whole 1,000-acre state park existed solely because some farmers back in the day didn’t know what they were doing. It also made me feel a bit better about myself. I wrote this poem in the car on the way home.” (web)

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