“Mark” by Katherine Lo

Katherine Lo


Not everything hard will break you, but it will 
probably leave a mark, 
like the scratch on the front bumper 
from a ladder propped against the garage wall,
the one you didn’t even know you’d touched 
until it started moving. Even then
a brief moment of bewilderment at this spontaneous 
wobble before your brain understood 
and your foot stomped the brake. That we don’t 
always feel the damage 
is a kind of grace, the reprieve of a door pushed 
against an overstuffed closet, 
solid restraint to the chaos waiting to fall 
on your head the minute you forget 
and pull it open. You need to deal with it
some might say, and they may be right. But first 
there’s laundry, and groceries, and teeth 
to floss. Some Saturday, after you’ve said goodbye 
to friends in some parking lot, you’ll head to your car
and squat in the space 
and light you never have in the garage, 
and take a look. Long black scrape, white paint 
crimped at the edges. But not bad. Nothing worth 
the trouble of fixing. 

from Rattle #81, Fall 2023


Katherine Lo: “This poem came out of a conversation with a friend about the coping mechanisms we all have and how they help us move forward, even with some damage.”

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