Posts Tagged ‘letter u’

(another poem for Lian Canty’s Alphabet Menagerie project)

Obey the poem’s emerging form.
—Jack Mueller

This is the poem in which you accept
that anything might happen next.

A red umbrella might fall from the sky
and offer a ride to Belgium.

A constellation of bright sea urchins might
walk by on their tiny transparent adhesive

tube feet. Or perhaps a petulant cherub,
unhappy with a day full of broken hearts,

might urinate on the next line. It happens
in poems all the time—the improbable,

the profane, paired side by side
with the miraculous. Like love. Unicorns, well,

they are more often saved for fairy tales and
UFOs, they belong more to sci fi texts.

But why not have them here? In this poem, ukeleles
might serenade the next stanza with their sweet Hawaiian twang

and their hint of exotic happiness.
An umbrella parakeet might fly its way in,

or a strange man might enter
and wonder “Why?” It happens,

it happens in poems all the time. Though
there are never any simple answers. Always paradox.

The Great Bear in Ursa Major just might hunch over
any errant rhymes and strew them like stars

across the sky. Or a cow might stroll through
with its pale pink udders reminding you

of other things you have never done.
Oh, there you are, you made it

at last into the poem. I was hoping
you would show up, not like in one of those

terrible dreams where you’re wearing only
your underwear and you’re afraid everyone

will notice. No, here you are, ready to do
whatever the poem asks of you, which is

to say yes to whatever happens next,
though the poem is as unstable as uranium,

as fickle as a butterfly in a whole field
of open flowers, and you will be asked to make peace

with not knowing what the poem really means.
And yes, you will say, yes. And you will perhaps see

how you are the umbrella, the seven stars, the parakeet,
the urchins slowly moving their way across the sea.

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