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.

Jeff Whitney

Dear Phil,

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.
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