Standard

“first-person is dead,”
he said;
by whose hand,
he didn’t.

presumably some
olympian host—
perhaps as mighty,
surely as real—

who speaks to life
such cosmic laws
on sweet
ambrosia breath;

who marks
each movement’s
birth and death;

treats poetry
as fashion.

we are taught
it is their passion
that we seek to inflame

for contributors’ copies
and coffee-shop fame…
…but i digress.

i found him
weaving dignified and
distant compositions,

outside observations
written at arm’s length

of history
and abstract love
and the eternal
pulse of nature.

i looked over his shoulder
as he looked over the world’s.
and when pressed,
i did confess
that i have long been
thrust against my ego
like a suckling,

that everywhere
i turn, there
stands a mirror,

that sidewalks
are cracked
like my conscience,

that hills
roll away from me
like promised graves,

that the midnight sky
turns me to
a speck of sand,

that everything i feel,
i feel where i stand.

and he turned outward,
and i turned inward,
and we walked in
different directions—

and the world
remained unchanged.

 
This poem originally appeared in the 2009 collection Sixty-Six.