®

Today's poem is by Paul Guest

Apogean

All this floating is ridiculous, and the stars,
like goldfish in a bowl, flutter and plume
to remind at this distance love isn't

urgent or imminent: it's a penny in a fusebox
to keep the lights going. On and down
one could follow a strand of kelp

to a den of slime, the octopus' garden,
if the light lasted longer than air—
but it never does. Driving home,

the night, the dark and the cloud come,
and the cows on their knees huddle in fields.
It looks like rain, a voice will say,

but in truth it looks like time
punctuated with water. Here, too, come
the trees I misname and all the birds

changed without permission, lonesome
in their breasts for the old color, a signature
their mates would recognize, a song

to once again fit and fill their throats.
Apologies on old scraps are everywhere
like leaves in autumn, caught in a sleeve

or nestled on the wide, upturned brim of a hat.
This room fills with air when I leave it,
like a heart with blood, or lives with time—

the matters of course ticked off
like seconds or groceries presently needed
and absently bought. From the ceiling

a chandelier has bloomed like a glass lotus—
a troupe of dancers twirl. A dog barks:
in its mouth a lamb's femur cracks like fire.



Copyright © 2003 Paul Guest All rights reserved
from The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World
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Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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