Elizabeth Bolton

Reassurance

 

Robert Lowell presses a knuckle into his chin, fingers a sprouted shower of beard and his eyes peer round from the very tops of his circular frames. The volume is too heavy for one-handed reading – the sloppy brick would tear itself to chunks if left to hang. I’ll hold it like a hymnal then, closed. Not mine forever. Others will need it.   

 

 

We stare.

 

 

The smile blooms, his first, through a blackened crack in the lips.

 

Eyes locked I feed his black-and-white head 

 

with what I wish to be true

 

that cannot be proven untrue 

 

ask to bury myself in these cradles:

 

“No failure! Keep going! Only rung after rung after rung…” 

 

beneath his avuncular, reassuring gaze

 

Robert Lowell

 

not the poet but

 

the broad black-and-white face 

 

on a wise paper brick

 

my hands clutch

 

and hold out before me –

 

an offering of warm

 

regimented desperation.

the good / the bad

 

I won’t deny that it’s my fault. I let the thing in myself, through the hole I tore this morning. 

 

I tore clear through the membrane. It was an accident. I did it while I was tearing all my head hairs out, big tufts, handfuls of suburban lawn. Then I sprouted my arms to a V and raged, red-throated while I spun around and around. I drilled my feet into the ground while I spun, roared a fool’s roar while I spun, saw the path of things, the changeability of them while I spun and wider tore the bubblegum hole and louder spat my spit-choked cry and in came the good bright head-aching news 

 

that today is my birthday.

 

 

Smile, they urged with hungry nods, this is what fine looks like.  

 

 

And though I understood them

 

and tried to believe 

 

still I spun

 

and I spun

 

and dreamed I was finished. 

 
 

THE COURTSHIP OF WINDS

© 2015 by William Ray