Audio: Read by the author.
A couple drinks. Then what is usually
a schematic of solitude, of grandeur,
What is frequently a proof of posterity,
an assumption of unattainable wisdom—
Because we die, we all die, and the oak lives,
those imagined rings like so many glasses
Set down on a warm wooden table, same
spot, early evening after early evening—
Became, in my watery mind, a crazy diagram,
conditional, subordinate, parenthetical,
And I could not follow it for all its impossible
modifiers and negations until ultimately—
Yet not—after another drink—I ended up appositional,
swelling alongside the resurrection fern.
Martha Serpas, a professor at the University of Houston and hospital trauma chaplain, will publish her fourth book of poetry, Double Effect, with LSU Press this fall.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.