Poem: Mice and Men

“Transform,” said the old man in the boat

forever unsatisfied, he voyaged a venture

without end, staring blankness at itself, pondering

mysteries infinitely varied, reaching solutions

invisibly weightless, he studied all his life to learn

idioms are disguises, nothing more, like words

unearth odium daily, feelings blinding reason

preserve themselves in amber, “transform.”

 

His hair was reedy charcoal, his eyes were dreary

sunsets cloudless, he wondered aloud to himself

what he would become, bear flamingo and aardvark

were all possibilities, answers to the question

unknown material cipher, the solution at hand

hammer pulling and raised, “On the count of three”

he said to his dead relatives, “One” then “two”

before stopping to stare, at nothing plainly.

 

He sighed and sat back, erect by his elbows

planted in wooden boat bottom, the barrel snug

under his jaw, “three” was the call through tears

bloody thick mist, click arise from a catch

without gunpowder, struggle the fist sharp

through his thigh, cool it from there say “tomorrow”

grabbing the oars, spit over the side, pause

knowing there’s nothing, no promises kept.

Poem: Mice and Men

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