01 January 2016

Alterations (2016 New Year's Poem)

ALTERATIONS

The weight of John Ashbery’s
Collected French Translations:
Poetry
(414 pages) and Roberto
Bolaño’s The Unknown University
(835 pages) on my mattress this
New Year’s morning is like
the weight of my mother and
father sitting on the foot of
the bed, watching me as I sleep.
Twenty-one years gone and fifteen,
respectively, they’re from another
world. “What’s a guy like you
doing here? / Are you plotting
a crime?” my father asks,
and he puts me in a headlock.
“O closed heart O heavy heart O
deep heart / You will never get
used to sorrow,” my mother says,
and she strokes my left cheek.
Thing is, I’ve stopped writing
poems about them. Also,
my strides are longer, and
I can be out the door and
at the lake in three steps. I
kneel down and scoop
some water into my palm.
Soon the water turns to ice.
The weight of me makes me
sink into the snow that covers
the beach. By the time spring
comes and the snow has melted,
I will have a little tailor shop
down there. I will have become
my grandfathers. My parents
are just a gleam in my eye.
I switch a little light on
above my sewing machine
and do some alterations.



1 January 2016
Cobourg



Over and out.

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