Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I SLEPT WITH THOREAU

Disclaimer: I didn't actually sleep with a dead guy. However, I just finished reading Amy Belding Brown's book, a speculation on the life of Lydia Jackson Emerson, and, for the first time, I had to remember that RW Emerson, Thoreau, Margaret Fuller and Louisa Alcott were all living human beings. I wanted to write about it. And what happens? Apparently, I get frisky with the outdoorsy one.

I've been writing more frequently lately, and I think it's because a) I'm no longer working at the clinic, b) I'm preparing for my last residency, c) my thesis is already bound and ready to be presented, and d) all I really do in my spare time is read and lift weights. Plenty of time to think.

Anyway, this poem is probably (ironically) the most suited to be posted on my blog. The others are under construction and/or not very impressive. Thanks for reading.


I SLEPT WITH THOREAU


It’s true,
I followed a trail of fish scales
to his cabin, followed them
as if they had been pennies
or bread crumbs. He stood alone
on a patch of grass lifting
two small trees (one in each fist)
over his head like dumbbells—
Baby maples, he said.
He had cleaned his teeth with straw.
He had scrubbed his skin with sand.
He said he had something to show me,
wanted to read a short passage
of poetry as I undressed.
I waited patiently by the fire,
crossing and uncrossing my legs.
He stumbled on his own words
and eventually read a page from
the story of Ulysses. He said he wished
he could write the colors gold and red.
The book trembled in his hand,
stubble blossomed on his face
and he asked if I would like some raspberries.
He was an exasperating, nervous young man
and my voice went flat as water
when I said Hank, I don’t make trips like this
every day, now shake those little birds
from your hair and get into bed.



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