The Solipsist

By Troy Jollimore Troy Jollimore
Don't be misled:
that sea-song you hear
when the shell's at your ear?
It's all in your head.

That primordial tide—
the slurp and salt-slosh
of the brain's briny wash—
is on the inside.

Truth be told, the whole place,
everything that the eye
can take in, to the sky
and beyond into space,

lives inside of your skull.
When you set your sad head
down on Procrustes' bed,
you lay down the whole

universe. You recline
on the pillow: the cosmos
grows dim. The soft ghost
in the squishy machine,

which the world is, retires.
Someday it will expire.
Then all will go silent
and dark. For the moment,

however, the black-
ness is just temporary.
The planet you carry
will shortly swing back

from the far nether regions.
And life will continue—
but only within you.
Which raises a question

that comes up again and again,   
as to why
God would make ear and eye
to face outward, not in?

Source: Poetry (January 2008).

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2008
 Troy  Jollimore

Biography

Troy Jollimore's first book of poetry, Tom Thomson in Purgatory, won the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award. His second book, At Lake Scugog, was published in the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets in 2011. His poems have appeared in the New Yorker, McSweeney’s, the Believer, and other publications.

He earned a PhD in philosophy from Princeton University and is currently a professor in the philosophy department at . . .

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Poems by Troy Jollimore

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Time & Brevity, Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Mythology & Folklore, Heroes & Patriotism

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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