Today's poem is by Ted Mathys

from "Threshold"

but as soon as I do it wants to be called
something else. To a scullery mouse
chewing off its feet in an adhesive
trap I arrive. I call it frustration
with stasis launching a coup
over fear of death, but it wants to be called
something else. I call it binary but the lights
are not off, they are simply not on.
I call it a malevolent twit, et
cetera, it retrenches. Night, I say,
and it stops laughing. It knows it has me
naked on the oak in its holster of black.
I don't call it as I see it. I can't see it
anywhere, anymore. My grandmother
is recently deceased but no matter
how adamantly passing is avowed as blessing her
sons are still manifold and bearing her
pall in bowlers through a light rain they hate. So I call it
her thick thumbs again quick
in the flour and Dad's again a yeah-high tot.
I call it the compound eyes of the wasp
advancing on a slat toward the last
quadrangle of exterior light. I call it the chainsaw
hanging from his fist, oiled and hot above yesterday's drift
as his walleye trundles me
from deep in its socket. I call it
all of a sudden, it does not respond. I call it
some of a sudden, its presence returns.
I call it the ritual in which a mutt
is fooled and fed an invalid's hair
in order to take on the sick. But it knows this ritual
and feeds me its hair, now it is in me,
I am in it. I call it another grandmother interred in
Palestine twelve thousand years ago and with her hand around
the thorax of a puppy. I locate the mouse
dead in its trap, wipe off the stubs
that used to be feet. I drop to my knees,
try to call it off. There is no off, it says, there is
only not on. I pet the carrion,
sit down on the floor, I call it myself.

Copyright © 2005 Ted Mathys All rights reserved
from The Modern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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