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.