Horizon

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Feb. 18 1999 3:30 AM

Horizon

To hear the poet read "Horizon," click here.

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Mother, I think, what could comfort you?

I might as well ask a piece of paper
for panaceas. I remember the fevers,
the figments of your agitations:

once the balustrades of our house
trembled, your children turned wooden
and burned to leave you. Now,

in your den of grievances, you seem
cornered, possessed, relentless,
all repudiation of reason. So I try

to change subjects, anything wild
from the news: a scandal, a strange
scientific wonder, like the dinosaur

fossil with feathers. That makes you
sullen, flat. I can't think how
to disarm or distract. Then, as if

I'd fallen suddenly asleep and you need
to wake me, you inject a dead
enemy's name, her antique crime,

and your old animation's restored--
that animus, like ash, aflame once more!
A hundred miles from your telephone,

I watch a small white sailboat
that appears to be in flight, or like
a feather, afloat, untethered, so