The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
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Poem for Thursday


The Coffin Store
By C. K. Williams


I was lugging my death from Kampala to Krakow.
Death, what a ridiculous load you can be,
like the world atremble on Atlas's shoulders.

In Kampala I'd wondered why the people, so poor,
didn't just kill me. Why don't they kill me?
In Krakow I must have fancied I'd find poets to talk to.

I still believed then I'd domesticated my death,
that he'd no longer gnaw off my fingers and ears.
We even had parties together: "Happy," said death,

and gave me my present, a coffin, my coffin,
made in Kampala, with a sliding door in its lid,
to look through, at the sky, at the birds, at Kampala.

That was his way, I soon understood, of reverting
to talon and snarl, for the door refused to come open:
no sky, no bird, no poets, no Krakow.

Catherine came to me then, came to me then,
"Open your eyes, mon amour," but death
had undone me, my knuckles were raw as an ape's,

my mind slid like a sad-ankled skate, and no matter
what Catherine was saying, was sighing, was singing,
"Mon amour, mon amour," the door stayed shut, oh, shut.

I heard trees being felled, skinned, smoothed,
hammered together as coffins. I heard death
snorting and stamping, impatient to be hauled off, away.

But here again was Catherine, sighing, and singing,
and the tiny carved wooden door slid ajar, just enough—
the sky, one single bird, Catherine—just enough.

--------

From this week's New Yorker.

It was perkypaduan's birthday, so I took her out for sushi -- a meal not precisely chosen by her or by me but by Adam, who again had a half-day of school for parent-teacher conferences and who has complained repeatedly that I always go out for sushi with my friends and don't take him with me. We brought the sushi back here and ate it while watching Free Enterprise, which I haven't seen in years and so had forgotten how hilarious it is. And even though it was her birthday, she brought me Halloween socks! Adam went outside to play and came home absolutely covered with leaves, which inspired the theme for tonight's photos:


A squirrel in the neighbor's tree in my front yard, which has glorious pink flowers for one week a year and produces annoying berries the other 51 weeks.


I love all the colors on this tree down the street.


Souvenirs of the election are still on some local lawns along with growing piles of leaves.


This photo was taken two weeks ago, when the leaves were just starting to peak...


...whereas this one was taken two days ago, with many leaves already fallen and raked.


I love it when one tree has multiple colored leaves at the same time.


The neighborhood association has had the leaves in our neighborhood blown into piles off the roads and sidewalks so they can vacuum them up, though this one has been jumped in by so many kids by now that I'm not sure how easy it will be to vacuum!


And though there are few leaves in this photo, just to make sure Jack and Stephen get equal time, here are our beloved backyard squirrels trying to mooch fallen birdseed from the feeder.
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In the evening after dinner, homework, practicing, etc., needing a distraction from the fact that Pushing Daisies wasn't on, we watched the seventh episode of Merlin, "The Gates of Avalon," which reminded me of a Torchwood episode and perhaps wasn't terribly well-written, but the Merlin-Arthur love is always delightful, and I'm hoping Morgana gets to do more than be a potential love interest since they clearly want to hold off on that angle. Then we watched the New Fog Bowl already in progress -- Central Michigan vs. Northern Illinois -- which ended up going into overtime, so we turned if off in favor of Stewart and Colbert, though I gather CMU won. Colbert made me cry talking about his sperm donations to bail out Britain, though, so it was all worth it.
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