Late Poem for Sunday, June 3

June 4, 2012 § Leave a comment


Convenient how everything is more
or less two hours from here.
Yes, CementLand USA,
the world’s largest ball of twine.
Yes, too, the island nation of Cuba,
where expensive cigar smoke cures
what ails you, and all day you hear
the switch-switch of machetes.

Heat then? Two hours.
And the cold glass of milk.
The six-foot rabbit
and the five-cent cup of joe.
Also your mother with a spatula,
or your mother’s grave, tastefully festooned
with those ornaments you made
by melting plastic cups
full of colorful beads in the oven.

The oven too?
Oh, yes, the oven.

Even the electric squirrels
are close at hand, so close
you might begin to make promises
to God, if only he’ll let you
hold one burning — trick fire in the net.

If only you owned reliable transportation
we could go there together.
If you could measure the day
and the hour with that line of starlings,
clinging like beads of rain
to the shiny, black telephone wire.

-Matthew Roth, from the Columbia Poetry Review, no. 12, 1999.

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