Printer Friendly

Burnt from the Notebooks.

His boyhood loves him, clings

to his skin: pungent smell of lemons,

crushed mint and eucalyptus leaves

heal air, laurel twins verdant hair:

thinks he is myrtle, evergreen

of marriage, mourning too, twines

him out of myth and solitary

white flowers, black fruit

Clove, allspice, evening primrose

where evening never calls:

he relies entirely on absence

republic of volatile oils

clearing an empty place in the mind

repeating each punctual gesture

(taking his place in the empty mind

small island of climbing vines)

The god is a boy whose arrows

have been stolen, snapped

one by one in my humiliated hands

useful for kindling now

Sunday blush of boys cruising

crackling leaves and trash, faith in

redundancy's ruthless youth

(out looking for just a piece

of sex, torn-off phallic branchlet

oozing camphor, eugenol)

contingencies of shedding trees

and buildings under demolition,

construction dust of new condominiums

(as if desire had a history, came down

with dinging vines ripped from red bricks

small thorns scoring my palms)

Forecast clouds fold open, let go

of their resentments: rain

strips October bare

REGINALD SHEPHERDS third book, Wrong, is forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press. This poem is from a fourth manuscript, entitled Otherhood. Shepherd lives in Ithaca, New York.
COPYRIGHT 1999 World Poetry, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Nov 1, 1999
Previous Article:Fire Bugs.
Next Article:nine poems.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |