Today's poem is by Paul Guest

Preemptive Elegy

Another future I don't want to believe in:
my body filled with me dabbed in ice,
victim of comic book conflagration
involving great powers and absurd scheming
and slights darkly nursed over the years
and monologues refined and refined
for the day that had to come when Fate
evened things out, made right or bearable
the wrong and unbearable, brought low
the high and mighty, raised up the low and once weak—
and me stumbling in on it all,
looking for the bathroom or the gift shop,
blasted northward to the Pole.
Assumed dead and left to dream endless cold.
And there would be the scientists
to find me and thaw me
back at Ice Station Zebra with hair dryers
because they were bored
or out of large caliber ammunition
or had forgotten where the helicopter was parked
or were just crazed by isolation.
Stunned when my body spasmed in the air.
When all the lights began again
to flicker inside the defrosted wad of brain.
When the shock had passed
and we devised elaborate hand signals
because they spoke languages
that sounded a lot like other languages
but not my own. A day or two
and black floods of coffee
would determine the years
and the worlds I had slept away.
And the you. Who mourned me
however long, however brokenly you needed.
And all the rest of your life
dodging the rage of others
and keeping sparse gardens
and a lot of pragmatic, hurried showers.
Which is reason enough
to be sad. To mourn
your tangled hair with my thawed heart.

Copyright © 2008 Paul Guest All rights reserved
from New Orleans Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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