Can't swim; uses credit cards and pills to combat intolerable feelings of inadequacy; Won't admit his dread of boredom, chief impulse behind numerous marital infidelities; Looks fat in jeans, mouths clichés with confidence, breaks mother's plates in fights; Buys when the market is too high, and panics during the inevitable descent; Still, Pop can always tell the subtle difference between Pepsi and Coke, Has defined the darkness of red at dawn, memorized the splash of poppies along Deserted railway tracks, and opposed the war in Vietnam months before the students, Years before the politicians and press; give him a minute with a road map And he will solve the mystery of bloodshot eyes; transport him to mountaintop And watch him calculate the heaviness and height of the local heavens; Needs no prompting to give money to his kids; speaks French fluently, and tourist German; Sings Schubert in the shower; plays pinball in Paris; knows the new maid steals, and forgives her.
David Lehman - 1948-
To the Author of Glare
There comes a time when the story turns into twenty different stories and soon after that the academy of shadows retreats to the cave of a solitary boy in a thriving metropolis where no one remembers the original story which is, of course, a sign of its great success: to be forgotten implies you were once known, and that is something we can prize more than the gesture greater than the achievement: but I wander from the main point: the main point is one among many fine dots so fine you need a microscope to see them but then they multiply like germs: the work of the deepest cells is ergonomically incorrect, but effective nevertheless, like my footprints in the snow leading to you, who would be my father if this were a dream and I on the verge of waking up somewhere other than home: but the hours remain ours, though they were gone almost as soon as they arrived, hat and coat in hand.
[Glare is a book of poetry by A. R. Ammons.]