Tuesday, November 30, 2010



You called Senators, manufacturers of hay balers,
and demanded lots of things. Concessions
to your sadness, mainly, which had hung around
since at least the second grade, when
a ball of ice had smacked you in the eye
and turned your face into a curtain of blood.
You never saw it coming. Now, you laugh
when the weather is on, thinking of old winters.
How much made of pain they were.
How you placed your body atop the frozen lake
and waited for the cold to come
through the back of you -
it felt like you were falling
into a brick wall, and all time had slowed.
Now, you make notes about
proper techniques regarding the disposal
of old television sets
and complain to the window
your litany of abuses.
All around is motion:
the scrape of jets in ascent,
and the buses passing by on the hour.
You practice stillness. You fill yourself up with it.
Your muscles mutter. Your bones cannot stop their sighing.
Here you've come. Here you came
with absurd things like tube socks.
Your skin. Your skin
like a sort of faith, you think one night when
outside the world heaves
with rain. When the sky burns in the vague distance.
If you inhale, the air has a taste.
Copper wire. Blood.
You are empty. You are unknown.

1 comment:

Susan Fernbach said...

I have loved your work since I discovered it on Poets.org with "User's Guide to Physical Debilitation." You are the only person I've ever read who came close to the anger and clarity of Mark O'Brien's writing. He was a poet and a journalist who spent most of his life in an iron lung, a polio quad. I loved him. He died. I was so happy to read you.