The slight white poet would assume non-human forms, homely
Grampus fish, a wahoo, nuthatch, nit.
He had no romance except
Remorse, which he used like fuzzy algebra. By pouring bluing
On black porous coal, he crystallized, pronounced himself almost
A sorcerer. He had an empty cloakroom
In the chest of him.
All the lost wool scarves
Of all the world collected there & muffled him
He imagined he could move a broom if he desired, just by wishing
It. If he spoke of ghosts, he thought he could make of art vast
Tattersall & spreading wings.
When they found him in the nurse’s office,
He was awkward as a charlatan, slightly queasy
In an emperor’s real clothes.
The thermos in his lunchbox was perpetually
Broken and he lied. The small world smelled of oil
Of peppermint, for a broken spell. Everything is plaid
And sour in oblivion, as well.
Lucie Brock-Broido, “Almost a Conjuror” from Trouble in Mind. Copyright © 2004 by Lucie Brock-Broido. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
Source: Trouble in Mind
(Alfred A. Knopf, 2004)