Poem for August 2

August 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Narcissus Before the Rain

The carriers of water bring their own
extinction. He tried to think his way through
himself, there wasn’t any person deep enough
(first, second, or third, no one beside
himself) for him to drown
in thought, wasn’t water deep enough
to outmaneuver rain. Skimming
between the flat, slick stepping-stones
from water into deeper sink, he let the current
overtake him, where light
is money, money is a kind of light,
spilled nickels in the surface sheen,
the price of love or what it costs to find yourself
wrist-deep in flowing currency, foam
and glister of luck, bend down
and pick it up, palm-full of polluted froth, coins
scurrying between cupped fingers (money
dribbles from half-open lips),
small change of personhood lost to the
in-between, packed branches of
the almost-trees elbowing aside sky
the stream gives back, the almost-trees
the stream gives back, then takes away,
noon treasury sealed up by gathering
cloud-cover (a kind of sight
at second hand). He tried to gather up
the foaming money before
another threatened shower of gold
broke over his empty head, walked down
into high water rushing to be
an elsewhere, rising to
submerged occasion. Pockets weighed down
with coins, he gave nothing
away, trying his luck.

 

 

-Reginald Shepherd, from Red Clay Weather (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 2011)

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