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Poem of the Day: Franklin K. R. Cline

 

WHATEVER IT IS A DEAD THING MIGHT DO

 

My iPhone insists I don’t mean “sestina” but instead “destroy,”
and I think
okay, now that’s something I can easily do:
destroy, that is, especially here in November
in which a certain reliable despair
whirls around the lawns, these green-to-brown leaves,

and I could sit here and watch these leaves
destroy
themselves, turn the ground brown with no hint of despair
and think they don’t think
about much at all in November
except for doing whatever it is a dead thing might do,

useful as anything I’ve bothered to do
in any November. Look, I’ll keep talking as long as no one gets up, leaves
and walks out into November—
bright, arid—looking to destroy
any air touched by anything
touched by despair.

Yes, I’m aware my destruction-worship is a form of despair
that was sprinkled over me the way early morning dew
was plummeted towards the grass. It wasn’t my choice. What if I think
I exist to delay the tornado boom of spring leaves?
More pressingly, I wonder what it is that I’m here now to destroy
in November,

especially here in November,
in which I, reliable, repeat myself in despair?
Is it enough to destroy
all these pieces of paper that tell us what’s due
and when? Whom do I pay for these leaves
so dead and beautiful they interrupt what I’m think-

ing about? What do you think?
I’m sorry. Let me start over. It’s November,
in which each northern bird packs up and leaves
for Florida’s warm orange like the stereotypical elderly, molting despair,
aches for something fruitful to do,
having checked off the ordinary and regret, having so much they need to destroy.

 

—previously appeared on B O D Y

 

 

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