My closest friend emigrated West, petrified
To hop a jet back home; I exist in an equally isolated
East where fish are oblivious to their own
Water, where one loon separates from its flock.
Wind’s kiteless. Names of friends drift away but acquaintances
Remain vivid. What benefit remedy when no symptoms
Equate to any known disease? I pack my anthropomorphic
Lunch: blood oranges, artichoke hearts, kidney beans,
& yes I’ve digested & regurgitated my children or maybe
Vice versa. After rain, I dig for night crawlers under decomposing
Clippings. I fish to be elsewhere, the hoped for thrill & tug
Of the straightening line, the bass that surface trying to spit
The hook. An acquaintance whose wife is very ill articulates
In detail her ailments, positions his easel by the lake, pastels,
Water colors, his stagnant landscapes with finite rectangular skies.
In my middle life, more than ever, I need a once upon a time.
I forget how easy it is to forget—can’t imagine starting
Anything new. I used to love the satisfying finality
At the conclusion of movies when a giant The End
Flashed across the Big Screen. Maybe one solution:
We could all change our names every day. That loon,
Nursing a mangled wing, paddles lopsided, alone,
Unnaturally close to shore, as though attached with kite string.
I toss him the not quite stale bread I smuggle from my pantry
& have been thinking hard about a name for him, for this.
Unapologetically, I settle for the moment of least astonishment.
Copyright © 2016 by Bruce Cohen. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 22, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.