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Ad Hominem

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The Poet:

         Fugitive lung, prodigal intestine—   
         where’s the pink crimp in my side   
         where they took you out?


The Octopus:

         It must be a dull world, indeed,   
         where everything appears   
         to be a version or extrapolation   
         of you.   

         The birds are you.   
         The springtime is you.   
         Snails, hurricanes, saddles, elevators—   
         everything becomes   
         you.   

         I, with a shift   
         of my skin, divest my self   
         to become the rock   
         that shadows it.   

         Think of when   
         your reading eyes momentarily drift,   
         and in that instant   

         you see the maddening swarm of alien ciphers submerged within the text   
         gone before you can focus.   
         That’s me.   
         
         Or your dozing revelation   
         on the subway that you are   
         slowly being   
         digested. Me again.   

         I am the fever dream   
         in which you see your loved ones   
         as executioners. I am also their axe.   

         Friend, while you’re exhausting   
         the end of a day   
         with your sad approximations,   

         I’m a mile deep   
         in the earth, vamping   
         my most flawless impression   
         of the abyss   
         to the wild applause of eels.
Source: Poetry (December 2008)

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

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Ad Hominem

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