What Rough Beast | Poem for May 30, 2017

Patricia Knoll
April in Northeast Portland

Like the kid who thinks you can dig to China even if the hole fills up with water,
I’m driving through a neighborhood as if this destination isn’t where once
I knew sadness and my memory swamps even the plum blossoms
that have not decided to snow on concrete. Yet.

The song on the radio says the sun is rising on the other side of the world
in a different season than this one, this eruption of bloom which here attests
that the world does want to keep renewing, endlessly maybe with fatigue,
so let the show go on and the ringmen trot out the prancing horses
with the thighs that would make any sprinter push more weights
and jingling little bells that remind me of the sparrows back at feeders.

If you think I was daydreaming of beneficent dawn on that other side of the world,
you’d be wrong. I’m thinking of baby grimaces, Syrian babies dying
from that spray that came while they were napping, dreaming of golden clouds
billowing over buildings and mothers shooing away the flies.


Patricia Knoll‘s poetry collections are Ocean’s Laughter (Aldrich Press, 2015) and Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her work has appeared in dozens of journals nationally and internationally and has earned five Pushcart nominations.

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