Divorce and Mr. Circe
When, my quiet scientific friend,
fattening your rabbits for the blood-tap,
the smirking pig trotting toward its noose,
did you first think of grafting a new life
to your life? Because the body is hostile
(you once explained) it must be tricked
into welcoming the foreign substance
that can save it, the trickle of pig
you now slip inside a man's skull. Call it
immuno-suppression. Or call it
a violation of self, when the spores
leech through the soft Parkinsonian
ganglia, so the spastic man
tied twenty years to a chair by
his frantic wife, can now smack
a nine-iron and snort Watch her go.
To graft new life is to cut one away,
to grow from withering-
Whatever it is you put in a brain
has first come from yours:
What remains there today
when dog will mew, and cat
will have his day, when a man
quivering after years of
deliberation rises from his chair at last,
closes with steady hand the door
his wife holds
and walks away from his house?
David Gewanter co-editor of The Collected Poems of Robert Lowell, is the author of two books of poems, In the Belly, and Sleep of Reason (both from the University of Chicago Press). He's been a fellow at Bread Loaf, and was a Witter Bynner fellow at the US Library of Congress in 1999. His book of poems won the John C. Zacharis award from Ploughshares magazine. Most recently, he has received the Whiting Foundation's Writers Award.
Potentially, might be ...