138: Still Life with Aspirin
Still Life with Aspirin
by Lucie Brock-Broido
There she was, the mother of me, like a lit plinth,
Heavenly, though I was reared to find this kind
Of visitation impractical; she was an unbearable detail
Of the supreme celestial map,
Of which I had been taught that there was
No such thing. Stevens wrote that
For a poem to be true, it must come "from an Ever."
If you don't fathom that, then you should not be reading this.
I was there, at Ever, & it was mostly poignant and it was cruel.
It was a subjunctive place where touch was so particular it hurt
Like a veterinarian's deep kiss, like a Jerusalem somewhere
Between fancy & imagination. I was the procuress
And the gallowglass guarding the history and turf of everything
Intimate. What word would you use to describe me now.
Imperishable? Imperishable. The stars
Appear every night in the sky. All is not well.
All Deepens. V. told me that. All deepens, which is
To say—nothing—like a mild analgesic, which is to say everything
Like Lear's three girls. Which is to say:
All of my objects have lost their correlative states
And you want to know why. Because things are just
Things now, just as everyone said they would be.
When I was there, at Ever, by the way,
I was an ascetic & quite vernacular. The land there
Was all as peaceful as an aspirin, as the West Bank
Is an eternal circle of chalk and bruise and war.
You did not dream I held political
Ideals, did you. You should not be reading this & are.
Remember me in the blowsy humid corridors
Beneath the Wailing Wall, most sacred place of all;
Remember me: wishing, specific, marooned, as
One who knew exactly what the Ever was & is, a velvet school
Of courtesan, a gallows bird, all deep, all deepening.
"Still Life with Aspirin," from TROUBLE IN MIND by Lucie Brock-Broido. Copyright © 2005 by Lucie Brock-Broido. Used by permission of the poet's estate.