®

Today's poem is by Bill Knott

Succession

On the welcome mat the foot announces knee;
knee, thigh; and so on. Each part of the body
becomes in the process of this introductory
entrance merely a Pavlovian John the Baptist,

mere clarion omen of the one above it. But
the head, what does the head presage? My hair
can't grass over a path thus opened. The self
must make way for itself, its progress upward,

upward, and irreversible, like life. Which is why
I waver here before you now in the fear that I,
the poor shadow of whatever it is I portend,
I may somehow fail to properly augur forth:

caught in that unreeling portrait called Arrival,
will I prepare its import, bear up and be its doorsill?



Copyright © 2003 Bill Knott All rights reserved
from West Branch
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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