ANOTHER FAILED POEM ABOUT STAPLINGS
after Sandra Beasley
Maybe it was starlings, and maybe my stunted brain
took in the evident world and the written word
with its usual clubfoot alacrity. It probably was
about those, ah, little birds, famous for
showing up in poems but I was too taken with
my own dumb misprision to get it right.
Think about it: there was a secret
world in which a lot of people, for a long time,
had been writing about multiple fastenings
of disparate paper with bits of post-consumer steel.
I thought of John Keats: all week long
I've struggled in my heart to not be terrorized
by his bloody death, his lungs coming up into his mouth
in unsettling wads. I tried to remember
whether he had ever written about those birds
but I couldn't find his book
and it didn't matter, anyway,
dead as he was and wrong as I was about
that other imagined, weird poem
which announced itself a member
of the violently specific canon regarding office supplies.
Or maybe it was about the awful,
mechanical closings of some surgical incisions
I witnessed when I was a kid,
when I stared, too long, at the zippered wounds
of men whose necks were no
stronger than mine, who I might soon become,
I thought, if nothing went right.
And then nothing did
and whatever was explained to me,
the expectations of textbook procedure and the pain of the actual,
I got that wrong, too, surprise,
let us not be shocked by this apology to the gathered sky.