A FIFTH MEMORY
Let's not speak of ravens, keyholes at twilight, subjects
immediate to observation appearing partly as a doctrine
of chance. It is unlike me to dispute what is grand.
A cloud field can herald distress, command numbers
to fragment, but the rainfall lacked compulsion, how
birds listed as unclean were birds of prey, not a model
for conduct. Every day began with trust; segments
fitted together like small bodies of animals and plants.
Arriving home a touch positioned your face upright
regardless of industrious wind. Restore me to that
then, however streaked with gloom, however riddled
through with worm and sorrow. Part of the problem
was mandatory participation, the other your radiant
neck from certain sadness, half-feelings in August,
or the will to walk many-sided. Restore me to a prior
arena beyond where this letter fills a hand mildly. There
exists no such thing as three beginnings. Earlier gestures
were vague in declaring intention, and what the echo
from the cliff responds with is a general void, minor
modifications in mood like English weather. Restore
the song its bird, bird its egg, egg to concept. This world
mirrored a wonder formerly praised until we discovered
the structure of horror in all inventions. I anticipated
otherwise, the arrangement of light on a woodland stream
to dazzle; a red fox paused on a hilltop to restore
a condition decayed. What could determine the next
question? What answer could halt the mind and its written
description from an eternity grazing on itself? What answer
could relinquish such control or once more bury it
in a hole with anything else the animals might claim?
NO NEW INFORMATION
When I hang in the air
it will be by popular
demand. There is
a contingency of people
who think loving me
is wrong. I made this
for them. I care deeply
about our republic
but I’m unsure what
to do next. I’m lonely.
Duh. Even I can learn
to endure, but can
no longer speak
for us. Your anxiety
is noted. There is
something radically wrong
in the letter I left
or else Scandinavian.
I feel my apartment
getting dirty. I make
a cup of tea. It is
Later, I’m going
to haunt everything
in this room.
Brett Fletcher Lauer is the Managing Director of the Poetry Society of America and a Poetry Editor at A Public Space. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn.