Bearers of Distance

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A year ago, the day after the Boston Marathon bombing, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino created The One Fund with the purpose of helping those most affected by the bombings.  The Fund collected and distributed nearly $61 million  to over 230 individuals in just the first few months.

Shortly after the bombing, two poets, runners and editors decided they wanted to contribute also, and conceived the idea of an anthology of poems by runners, with half the profits from sale of the anthology going to The One Fund.  Martin Elwell and Jenn Monroe put out a call for poems, and a few months later published Bearers of Distance. The book includes nearly 50 poems written by runners and poets of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, poems that aren’t necessarily about running but inspired by running.  Besides the usual poetry bio for each contributor, there is also a running bio. 

I was honored to have the poem below selected for inclusion in the anthology, and especially today, as we all think back to that grim afternoon a year ago, I’m happy to have been a tiny part of one effort to bring healing to those affected.  

Naming

Don’t name the color. Let the dawn
on snow be the last finch flapping
out of my sleep and drawing me

into the morning ice air sharp
against my cheeks. Yesterday’s
footsteps lead into the street,

the robin that haunts the buried garden
waits at the end of the road. Desire
twitches its tail, lungs feed my heart,

my blood carrying memory, a lover’s
arm that wrapped my waist as I slept,
the sun gold, snow on fire.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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2 Responses to Bearers of Distance

  1. Nice, you paint vivid picture with your words.

  2. Grace Mattern says:

    Thanks. Vision to language is generally my path.

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