Jeff Whitney is the author of five chapbooks, two of which were co-written with Philip Schaefer. Recent poems can be found in 32 Poems, Adroit, Beloit Poetry Journal, Muzzle, Prairie Schooner, and Rattle. He lives in Portland.
Everything is at it again. I had just come down
from my one-man nightmare. Here in my plastic house
everything happens for my reasons but out there
in the world a man might teach a boy to swim
holding him under and when he comes up feeding him
blessings. We're all a little famous, I'm told. We'll all go
somewhere. But look, I don't want to go anywhere
that isn't for everyone. That's the whole point. That's why
I wept so inconsolably once looking at a picture of balloons
over Topeka. I don't know if we catalogue our griefs or pull them
along like so many tin cans behind the wedding car. I don't know
if you can hear mine clinking, but they're here in this room
and everything I am. You too, right? We don't live in Rome
but we can imagine grabbing fish right from the water
and wringing them. We can stand still while a caterpillar turns
into a butterfly on our arm. In this way we are not miracles
but average. Average flame, average star. It isn't much
but it's what we have. A lie. Thick honey. And time, strange
map, small x where we end. Time, the matador's cape
with a little blood still on it. Can you see the tiger that lives
in everything? Average flame, average jungle, no one saying goodbye.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
All contents © the author.