I wrote this poem four years ago in February of all things. As you will see, that month does not come into play--a fact I'm not sure struck me as odd at the time though now it kind of does. Today, it is coldish for late April. Even so, that is not the point; it is simply what reminded me of this poem.
To Get the Sense of Drowning
I wanted the moments of my life to follow each other and order themselves like those of a life remembered. I might as well try to catch time by the tail.
Some Spring mornings feel like Autumn, some
Autumn ones like Spring, and for a moment
I get dizzy--
Days spent confusing them with others.
And once, in a vortex, I felt myself slipping into
A preposterous mathematics. Once revived, still barely alive
I mistook myself
For everyone. Now huddled over my direful chest—all lungs and clinging to barely life—now praying to God, now God Itself, now the pretty paramedic.
June always sneaks impertinently in when I’m not quite
Done with May. December does this too with its ticking bomb
Of shopping days and ball drops and
My own pallid birthday
Compared to Christ’s impending one. And middle-Alabama knows
Its shocks of heat and rain on any
Square of the calendar.
Of the jillion cigarettes I’ve smoked, I remember
Two in particular. One—I sneaked past the nurses and into
My convalescent lungs.
Two—mother caught me with my head out the window, her
Disappointment matching mine at all possible
Points in time.
The poet warns of rosebuds, the prophet of infidels.