Andy Stallings

Paradise

An act of attention and will,
paradise frustrates itself quite
candidly. At angles with any
anger. Shirley Cannell took a
coconut down and set it on
the macadam, gave my
brother and me each a small
hammer, and let us pound
the hard, hairy shell all
afternoon while the adults
drank boxed wine and
chatted on the shaded
porch – but we never broke
through, weren’t meant to,
and I still don’t know what a
coconut tastes like that one
has split open himself. When
I looked at her face it was
framed precisely by the sun
rising behind it. Days spent
weeding in a half-wild garden
while children move fluidly
between sandbox, carport,
and woods. A developing
rhythm, descending silk.
Striped horizontal. A screen
door opening somewhere else
in summer.





























Andy Stallings lives in Deerfield, MA, where he teaches English and poetry at Deerfield Academy. He taught several years at Tulane University prior to that, and has published a book of poems, To the Heart of the World, with Rescue Press (2014). He has three small children, and coaches cross country running.