What I Know

A weekly poem, read by the author.
July 16 1998 3:30 AM

What I Know

What I Know


By David Rivard

(posted Wednesday, July 15, 1998)

To hear the poet read "What I Know," click here.

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
or groaning.

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
winter dries
Simone's skin I know
I get to stand by the still warm tub filled
with bath toys--
     toothless killer whale
     reborn
     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
     manufactured nude
     in either Hwangshih
     or Kowloon;
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,
and this
is the happiness--
I know
happiness
squealing.

David Rivard is the author of Wise Poison.