OVERCOME BY A MILD DESPAIR, GHOST
ATTEMPTS AND FAILS TO LEAVE HIS ROOM
These scarred walls. Your marked hands.
All's well, Ghost, don't take the day so seriously.
Nothing was promised and little expected.
You draw on one gray sock then the other,
pull rough blanket tight across shoulders.
See, already you are on your way.
You should rise, peruse the wild garden,
give name to the scent of rosemary, mint, thyme.
Lavender bloom, the crumpled petal
of cistus, bush of yellow broom--touch these
and be healed. Inquire with the angel
of clay and one smiling eye, of her broken
wing, the hole in her belly a pit without a fire.
Aim straight for the week's bleak horizon.
You should leave this narrow bed
the man you were, or imagined yourself,
breathing horse-breaths through flared nostrils,
fit and arrogant, laughing after a future
never assured, except one thing. Darkness
two embers in immutable fists and all the world
afraid. Silence the sun with shadow and
the stubborn chorus of one voice. Meaning--
lie back, close your eyes and wait.
Gaylord Brewer is a professor at Middle Tennessee State University, where he founded and edits Poems & Plays. His most recent books are the comic novella Octavius the 1st (2008) and an eighth full-length collection of poetry, Give Over, Graymalkin (2011), both from Red Hen. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry and The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Among his recent residencies were Can Serrat and the Fundación Valparaíso, and he has also taught in the Czech Republic, Kenya, and Russia.
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last updated 8 February 2015