September 22, 2008

To Wayne, diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 1973

People said we looked alike
when we were children. Most
days you were my favorite.
We rode bikes to nowhere,
picnicked in the traffic
island, scooped tadpoles out
of Millerís pond until you
were banished for falling in.
That was before your luck
dried up, leaving you raw
and cracked as a chapped hand.

Sitting with you here
I see our faces bear witness
against us, yours a road map
to strange countries, mine
grooved from nose to mouth,
eyes grown dreamy. Still, weíre
not so different, are weó
you listening to your voices,
me straining for a whisper
from the muse.

We fish the same pool,
after all, you and I.
You tread water, now
submerged, now bobbing up
for air; I dip a finger,
then a foot, then tiptoe in,
prepared to flee if I
should tumble
into that deep place of yours
where metaphor bubbles
into madness.

—Ellen Cole
previously published in Innisfree Poetry Journal, Sept. 206

Posted by dwaber at September 22, 2008 03:17 PM