Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Troubling Volume

I will go to the Cook Islands
to live forever. I will put up
a bookshelf with a volume
for every letter except N.
Seabirds will be observed
exhausted on the branches.
The land will belong to everyone.
There will be wine and nuts,
towels, and a curious soap
made of rind. On holidays
my neighbors will come over.
With an endearing flourish
I will present my volumes.
They will ask where N is hiding.
I will turn rarely quiet
and troubled. They will say
this man is in his own world.
The sun will round the earth
of trodden paths and volcanoes.
I will spend every afternoon
in the Cook Island public library.
The president herself will send me
a gift. I will have a fascination
with the mango pit resting
on its consuming so much space
in the fruit. I will no longer believe
something has eluded my grasp.
Anytime I wish to buy rubber
mouthpieces and a few hooks
I will buy them promptly.
If something pleases my neighbors,
it will please me. If I want
to build a water tank
build it I will. Why are the hens
so restless I will wonder inwardly.
I will put on shoes for a patrol.
There will be nuts, wine, towels,
books, and soap. The storm will push
stars and flocks mindlessly. It will come
back to me some idea from the volume N.
Everything will lay on the ground
that can lay on the ground.
What cannot lay on the ground
will take its chances.
The hens will survive, nervous
but ok. My neighbors will kiss
each finger saying it has cut us
but not in the mattering place.
I will announce a short trip
back to America. They will say
this time you'll bring the volume N.
I will become again quiet
and troubled. They will say
he has gone off
but where we cannot say.

-Brent Cunningham