Thursday, August 16, 2012

poem || Peter Sherburn-Zimmer

This Is What a Poet Makes of his Life
It is easy to wish for the wind in the field
When the window is closed before the morning begins.
But we are here, and the window is closed, you and I, myself
     And memory, are all that is here and I wonder
 At what pulls me from my thoughts to the kitchen where the water
     Is not running...
 The habit of distraction and afternoon destruction waiting.
It is as far away from autobiography as reading another man’s letter
     in the other room
Is from the original thought of his daughter back East, or on her way back East,
In a dark carriage above the Mississippi,
Or the letter I am not writing to you in my mind as I write you a poem.
I come from a family in which
The cousins came for an afternoon tea
And cut the legs off the table
To sit on the floor while they drank,
And children painted their shoes green
While the parents were out shopping, or drinking,
Because they wanted green shoes.
The truth of the stories is in the truth of the images,
The picture of the kids sitting on the floor,
The bucket of paint, the green sneakers;
The persistence of the story, regardless of whether it happened
     Or not;
The question in my mind of why I’d tell this tale over and over
     In my mind
For sixty years or so, true or not.

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