February 9, 2007

Poem the Spiritual

Poem trips over the word
that isn’t there. The stumble
puts food on the table, accrues
interest. Praise is bestowed
for not looking back, closer,
and Poem soon forgets
to watch where he is

Back in the day, it wasn’t
even a question; the speeches
moved Poem’s parents (now
disavowed, but still recorded
in the court registry) like
the weather or comedy. The gut
they called it—Poem was
using his gut. The food was
from a long
way away.

The first ulcer came. Poem
misheard it as “Ulster” from the history
books colliding and the old country’s
ferocious hunger
became his own.

The second ulcer wasn’t one but was
related. It hung on Poem’s
free-wheeling pace and gradually
slowed his progress. The visual
icon held his gaze on his death-
bed, smoldered over his shoulder, held
his attention rapt, clasped it when he should have
been busy watching
his footing.

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