This question didn’t much interest me
until after my hearing and eyesight
got so bad that what had been merely
something the excessively erudite
discussed when they were bored became a test
of my sanity. Then the gunshots from
up the street turned out to be a truck’s
backfiring, the open pit at the bottom
of a staircase became a shadow I could
actually step on without falling into hell,
and the end table where I set my cold
glass of beer never existed at all.
Old age tells you if you’re an idiot
or a saint. Either way you won’t like it.
Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?
The bunny that dashed across our street just
before dawn this morning–a fast moving
rabbit shadow that crackled with holiness
for two blinks of my eyes. In Bruce Springsteen’s
“Growing Up,” there’s a drum solo that makes
me weepy with joy, and in Duke Ellington’s
“Take the A Train,” when the brass section kicks
in, that energy rattles my skeleton,
and when I visit “Girl with a Red Hat,”
time stops for me so that other viewers
have to navigate around the pillar of salt
I’ve become. My problem is the reverse
of yours–there’s no shortage of sacred,
it’s everywhere. I try not to be scared.
David Huddle teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English and in the Rainier Writing Workshop. His fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in The American Scholar, Esquire, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Poetry, Shenandoah, Agni, Plume, and The Georgia Review. In 2012 his novel Nothing Can Make Me Do This won the Library of Virginia Award for Fiction, and his collection Black Snake at the Family Reunion won the Pen New England Award for Poetry. Huddle’s novel The Faulkes Chronicle appeared from Tupelo Press in Fall 2014; his most recent poetry collection, Dream Sender, was published by LSU Press in Fall 2015; and his new novel, My Immaculate Assassin, was published by Tupelo Press in September 2016.