Commentary Magazine


Personae

How does he fare
The man I was
Yesterday?—the lean lawyer
Who stowed his heart
In a bottom drawer.
Does he grieve any more?

Where is he stationed now?
—The young ensign
Of the last great war, his fleet
Of memories in moth balls,
His uniform and gold
Green with the seas and old.

And how’s the naturalist
Who fed the wild duck
And shot the soaring seagull down?
Unruly hair and sky-blue eyes,
How goes the youth?
Can he survive the truth?

How does he fare,
The world’s intruder,
His brother’s seasick voyager?

At the captain’s table
Does he still do that bit
That made him the favorite?

How does he manage
Among strangers,
Among their collections
Of breakables? One would thin
The days would lead him home
From night’s cold catacomb.

And where is the babe I was?
—The one at the breast
The whimpering whelp
Indistinguishable
From a thousand others
At their thousand mothers’.

Survivors all!
Guests of a gravid host
Shipwrecked from the womb.
Where are the islands
Of my history?
How is the sea?

_____________

 

About the Author




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