By David Rivard
(posted Wednesday, July 15, 1998)
To hear the poet read "What I Know," click
I don't know the happiness felt
by that woman who believes
she can actually recall
being a cold bullet fallen
in a field of trampled spring clover
without having hit any man
lying there dead
Neither will I ever know the happiness
of the one man among us
who remembers so clearly
his life long ago
as that aspiring but naive piece of parchment
on which a tribe of mistrustful lords
and barons wrote
the Magna Carta.
But because the steam-heated
Simone's skin I know
I get to stand by the still warm tub filled
with bath toys--
toothless killer whale
as cruise missile,
two turtles (mind-readers),
one pirated galleon beached
atop the styrofoam
hyacinth, & floating face down
in the water (abandoned,
lonely as a double-crossed bagman)
the begoggled action Barbie
in either Hwangshih
and pouring oil into
my cupped palm
I get to lift her hair
so as to rub the oil over back, blonded
swirls along her neck, coarse
scraped elbow, thighs,
is the happiness--
TODAY IN SLATE
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