Today's poem is by John Estes
Stray Paragraphs, February, Year of the Rat
After Charles Wright
Why we resist coming after, coming second, coming late
but not last
I cannot say, but we seem to, though we should root to, if we
had the sense of a brush pile, or the squirrels.
There are no gifts that are not dowries; etym- and archaeologies
like the first divorcethe division of day from night,
that coin of solace and
precursor to the watershed, to the neighborhood's
downward contoursdefine where everything runs
and where runoffs deposit their wrack lines.
What accumulates is not a reason, not debris but tablature,
adagia, apologia, full-stops and half-lives along with twigs and trash,
notations scratched-out in unremarkable fashion.
We have commissioned a longitudinal study, so give it time,
but try to avoid that ur-emphasis poets put on being,
where what is best left unaccented they prod into becoming
a thing at all, that wants nothing anyway, more or less,
like our lost baby, our would-be who would-not-be,
who will miss the seventh moon's scheduled swell
but asks for no condolence.
February, old rite-monger, this is how you will be welcomed,
in the name of those who won't be.
Ignore my firstborn, as I cannot, as he pries up the corner
of the living room rug
to reveal the filthy tape, the wood floor's bright parts,
and nothing else
the naked eye can see, however suggestive.
Even so it ties the room together
in a way you cannot, or will not, willfully bereft
of origins, middle sister who, like us,
awaits recombination, some saving throw, mitochondrial.
Copyright © 2009 John Estes All rights reserved
from Copper Nickel
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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