December 19, 2007

Ars Poetica

Iíve written love notes all my lifeó
the letter I dropped from the window, stained and yellow;

the one curled into the beggerís cup.
The empire fell around me

like snow, so the citizens cringed in the streets,
their laces untiedóblank-faced and strange.

Iíve written love notes and I do not know
to whom. In all directions, creased between bricks

or dropped from my fingers into gutters
so someone might find them and smile. Useless notes,

empty and vaguely
sad. I did nothing to help

while the empire limped into the park like a wounded car,
but composed while the crying shuddered

to a close and the buses stalled in the alleys.
Once, a group of hungry girls knotted on the street corner

called my name. Their hair was white
with snow, their lashes wet.

Love notes leaked from my hand as I walked past.
I have always been a gorgeous mind, light-in-the-eye

and dreaming. Always a work of art, a perfection
of limbs and hair, an arc in the marble

of my writing arm. Down and down my letters fell
while the empire closed.

—Kevin Prufer
from National Anthem, forthcoming from Four Way Books, 2008

Posted by dwaber at December 19, 2007 02:47 PM