A Report to an Academy

By Joel Brouwer b. 1968 Joel Brouwer
And so among the starry refineries
and cattail ditches of New Jersey
his bus dips from egg-white sky into shadow.
When he next looks up from Kafka a blur
of green sanatorium tile flows by
then presto, Port Authority, full daylight.
He has been cheated of the river, dawn,
a considered fingering of his long
and polished rosary of second thoughts.
Is it any wonder children are born
weeping? Out to Eighth Avenue to walk
twenty blocks home to her sleeping curve
beneath a sheet. He cracks three eggs into
a bowl and says to each, Oh you got trouble?
The yellow yolk is his, the orange is hers,
the third simply glistens, noncommittal.
Except to mention Kafka's restlessness
before his death, his trips from spa to spa
to country house to sanatorium,
and that she's awake now, sweet with sleep sweat,
patting her belly's taut carapace and yes
hungry as an ape but first a kiss mister
how was your trip and what have you brought us,
and that the knowledge that dooms a marriage
is the knowledge prerequisite to marriage,
the poem has nothing further to report.

Source: Poetry (December 2006).

 Joel  Brouwer


Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, poet Joel Brouwer is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Syracuse University. Brouwer is the author of several collections of poetry, including And So (2009); Centuries (2003), a National Book Critics Circle Notable Book; and Exactly What Happened (1999), winner of the Larry Levis Reading Prize from Virginia Commonwealth University. He has also published several chapbooks. Brouwer has been . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Marriage & Companionship, Activities, Travels & Journeys

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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