“Aphasia” by Partridge Boswell

Partridge Boswell


A British teenager is slowly emerging from a coma
nearly a year after being hit by a car, and he has no
knowledge of the coronavirus pandemic

That you can’t talk yet—can only blink and smile
    yes and no (both for perhaps)—makes perfect sense.
You’ll find words later, or not, to correct journalists’

and historians’ attempts. For now, what can be said?
    The shit hit the fan, the car the child. The world collided
with itself for a while. We were comatose then woke,

tidied up the mess and moved on. Your disbelieving
    eyes widen as if to say: Sea shanties? Really? We told
you the water was rough. You’ll just have to trust us.

Overnight, a winding cabooseless train arrived and left
    … it’s all the same and for the best. What’s this world
coming to if not change, for good or ill, a keelless rudder

against the waves? You wake at noon to afterthought—
    masked family milling about the bed, sensation returning
to your limbs. One day soon, sun will glance the dewy

pitch of your face and a word like joy will come fluttering
    out—just wait. No need to force it. The unthinkable takes
time to process and the clocks are still broken. Truth is,

you didn’t miss much, if anything. Another year at home
    glued to your phone, arguing over whose turn it is to take
out the trash. Some things are hardly worth forgetting.

Take it slow. Let your body and mind get acquainted
    like new and ancient friends who come in from the cold,
sit down for tea, and gaze out the window at something

long lost and familiar to them both—a buried sled or
    mitten orphaned from its string, a name perhaps—
emerging through the melting snow.

from Poets Respond
February 14, 2021


Partridge Boswell: “Slowly, we wake. Has less ever been more, or silence such a din?” (web)

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