November 18, 2013

William Wright

NIGHTMARE, REVISED

Now it is not a man pinned eviscerated
to a barn door and stretched mothlike
                to show his brisket,

the drying jewels of his guts
and his teeth red-tinged, eyes
                scappled bald. Now it is

not a plum-colored sky over
foothills of ruined chimneys,
                the world forever October.

Instead, I stand in a field where there is no
barn, and the pinned man, my father,
                has been let down, sewn

back to life: He walks through his home,
loneliness his dark carapace.
                His mother lies in an oak box

in a South Carolina graveyard. By now
her eyes are fused and sunken. By now her mouth
                is a leather smudge. She wanted cremation

but the family would not have it.
The bones of her fingers poke through skin—
                The moon emerges. The smell

of smoke blooms on the sweet-sharp air,
and I feel a joy under the thin arbor
                of passing clouds. Stars shimmer,

exact. I feel a joy, because there is no secret
order of moth or plum, chimney
                or bone, only the pungent fact

that somewhere, somewhere beyond
my sight, a fire burns part of this
                land gone, gone.

from Rattle #39, Spring 2013
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