Docudrama

A weekly poem, read by the author.
May 22 1997 3:30 AM

Docudrama

Docudrama

To hear the poet read "Docudrama," click.

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To start with an image of the tragic,
what would have been
this poem's end--if this morning
I hadn't eaten a roll with jam I might have
said, finally, the night
did what night always does, it swallowed
my two friends, their arms slung around each other's waists,
after I drove off chasing my highbeams.
Outside their shingled walls & roof earlier
and surrounded by pinewoods
that evening my friends & I had been saying goodbye
when one of them--
the man--surprised by the baby-seat suddenly visible
in the back of the car (lit up by an interior light
as I opened the door)--he said, my friend
said Jeez, they (meaning Michaela & our daughter Simone),
they won't be able to go anywhere.
Seeing I was as far as 150 miles from home
with the car, & my being
a potential traffic fatality,
or worse (deadbeat dad, abandoner), he was right.
I saw myself a moment
as indispensable, happy to be needed, much like
a canoe-paddling guide or gondola pilot.
But my other friend--
the woman--squinting at the baby-seat
with pity & amusement, she said
For christ's sake, you might as well wear a chastity belt.
And somehow
the mention of sex dragged death behind it--I mean
now that I have settled
(with responsibilities)
my dates with this or that sexual tsunami should be
a thing of the past,
right?
So there I was--
caught between being one man or another, neither.
Really, none of this is tragic.
Can I be loved enough, that's my story.

--for Mark & Jill

David Rivard is the author of Wise Poison, winner of the 1996 James Laughlin Prize from the Academy of American Poets.

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