Keeping Track of My Genius

By Jack Stewart Jack Stewart
I sometimes find him in the attic,
lying on his side, contemplating
the insulation. Or just staring at

the beams, trying to get the measure
of force and distribution. He
turns up a lot in the garage.

I know he loves me. But if I look
away for an instant, he's off,
and I worry that he won't come back

(or when he does he'll have no taste,
gone in for some fad I'll have to bear,
and every move he makes a test).

But usually he's charming,
following me to the cafe
and lying on the awning so carefully

as not to make it sag, only
casting a slight shadow on my table.
Of course I act as though I

haven't seen a thing. He only wants,
I think, to do what can't be done.
Why just yesterday, for instance,

I found him going through the public trash,
figuring how to fill a bottle
some angry drunk had smashed.

Source: Poetry (August 1999).


This poem originally appeared in the August 1999 issue of Poetry magazine

August 1999


Poet and teacher Jack Stewart earned degrees from the University of Alabama and Emory University and is a former Brittain Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His work focuses primarily on religious and pastoral themes.  Stewart currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and two daughters, where he teaches at Rancho Solano Preparatory School.


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POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

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