Bards & Brews Reader

Diary Entry After Auden


August 24th: the expensive delicate ship
which must have seen something amazing also witnessed
the unthinkable—an insane king feeding dirty
children to a monster cleaved bodies of prisoners
like severed starfish tumbling into the sea

I wrote this casual as anything after the brutal snow
along I-35 where I passed the husk of an accident
littered bolts from gaskets oil seared ragweed
burning in the gulch and how unbelievable
to see drifts green with fire and the men
opening the overturned SUV

and out her blood wanted to come:
the mother pulled from the wreck
by three her forearm gashed to the bone
she left a trail as they dragged and later
sitting at my desk her wounding reminded me

of wings and her pain made me think
of rhyolite how it did not melt away
though the wings must have
with the staggeringly clear snow
the flawless glorious clouds which you say
Auden is all subtext in the story of our lives

at twenty I believed you but today
I believe myself when I say
her suffering is here real as anything
this table where I have laid your book to watch
a fisherman at Gray’s Lake
his boy I see is playing by the water
he twists a twig between digits looking
into its mirror with what I want
to believe is empathy before
thrashing the image with a stick

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