after an hour of piddling
a cup and a half of black
coffee and a full album
of warm atmospheres
the neck relaxes
the spinal fire cools
to a portable ember
the holy pages are blurry
even with clean new glasses
but enfocus into sharp letters
as caffeine and whole notes meld
like a potion apothecary-fresh
the meds taken on time
follow the corporal path
the well-meaning chemists
say it will travel
in its unfantastic voyage
through the aged
as the wooden burning
threatens my mind’s forest
i realize i am clawing
Finally, August has something to show for its creeping work in front of my house: I’m afraid to open the blinds.
The kids fight. The cats fuck each other and shit everywhere. The dog sleeps under the desk. Wife watches her soap before taking a nap. And I sit here waiting for miracles I don’t know how to work for.
The grass grows, out of hand in some patches, despite the sun. Perhaps the rain has something to show for itself too. Perhaps the birds have not eaten all the seeds planted here.
Lately, I have had Ivan Ilytch on my mind
or more specifically the sack
he found himself fighting in
barely cognizant that he still had breath
believing with brute strength there is a rightness
and a wrongness about death
and that being correct he could reason himself
through the opening.
Finally the epiphany:
while his family semi-watched his writhing descent
screams piercing, bleeding the ears
he found mercy
and urged his tormentor to forgive
him who seemed to say “forego.”
Brother, I know what got you here.
Some too easily call your wounds self-inflicted.
But I also saw you kiss that nurse.
I know you have given your crazy roommate
some of your clothes and cookies.
Robbed of language I know you are praying for mom
and probably your dog (theology be damned).
I also know you are scared and angry and frustrated.
Still, your charity outdoes the saints
and leaves us staring into an empty bag.
Trees are no companions in winter
as hearted things -- like you and I--
must keep moving -- continue the flow
of blood in the veins of things
avoid the stagnation of thought
wisdom falls like snow
on frozen branches
where blue-jays and cardinals
build nests and listen.
The sky looked like a range of mountains.
The porch colder than expected,
there was no time to be transported.
Empty chambers here.
The black cat goes in and out
of each mourning.
I leave my socks on and take
my congested chest and uncheer
on a journey to the coffee maker,
Michael Neal Morris’ most recent books are Based on Imaginary Events (Faerie Treehouse Press) and The Way of Weakness. He has published several stories, poems, and essays in print and online He lives with his family just outside the Dallas area, and teaches Composition and Creative Writing at Dallas College’s Eastfield campus.
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