By Donald Revell b. 1954 Donald Revell
It is the right time for hallucinations.
Drowning in a sty, the sailor
feels the ocean’s buoyancy.
Dying in a web, the moth
discards its wings and falls free.

I wish something would put its hands on me,
give me stronger poison and then stronger.
The beautiful flotillas do not stop.
Undying love drifts and delays.
I am capsizing.

Great joy lingers still.
Nothing can be said for suffering.
It is legible only to strangers
and at great distances. It detests
survivors. It drapes gun-carriages

with flowers, lampposts with hanging boys.
It is the right time for hallucinations,
most nakedly of inmost west.
Her death would be less tender now,
dusted over with charity,

a web of useless wings, a shallow sty.
She gave me stronger poison and then stronger.
I miss her.
In the back seat of the taxi,
dark breathlessness says “Hurry, hurry.”

“Benzene” by Donald Revell from Erasures (Wesleyan University Press, 1992). Copyright 1992 by Donald Revell and reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: Erasures (Wesleyan University Press, 1992)


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Poet Donald Revell b. 1954

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, Sorrow & Grieving, Relationships, Love, Men & Women

Poetic Terms Free Verse