Marianne Boruch

May 19, 2016 Boruch Marianne



They walk in and out of the room,
the dead, though I don’t know why one of them
visits the bathroom. He fiddles around in there, doing
what–and way too long. Maybe he likes
replaying the movie of some
younger sister in 1952 howling at the door
but it’s an em-er-gen-cy! as he takes
all the sweet time in the world. 

But world’s gone 21st century again, days
underscored in bold, beyond rumor,
the planet and everything in it sunk to distress.
Thus time, time faster, smaller, hardly
much of it really. So even the dead come forward
laying claim.

I suppose they get sick of it too, the dismay
and thump bang of every last word.
The looking away then, darkly down into a future.
And the loud-speakered alert from Disaster Central
obtuse and pointed as a stick:
We’re red! We’re orange!! But color in a bruise
does fade.

Oh hope, oh little ragged pale flag over the fray is
a worn-out argument I’ve made: the world’s
ended before. We’re not that original.
Must be better banners or roundabouts or
beside the point after point.
You know what? We all need a head transplant.

I remember an old beloved colleague at dinner once
turning to our eight-year-old.
Will, he said, I like that you think that way. How about
we exchange heads? Mine sewed onto you,
and yours onto me….

Run it backward and forward, o ye possibilities!
His only a few hairs left, his looming
leaning forward, crooked glasses and raised
funny eyebrows while
our boy, not too alarmed, gravely considered.

Marianne Boruch was the Jennifer Jahrling Forese Writer-in-Residence
this past spring at Colby College. Her 11th poetry collection is
Bestiary Dark (Copper Canyon Press, 2021). A fourth
book of essays—Sing by the Burying Ground—will be published
by Northwestern University Press next year.