postmen like doctors

go from house to house

Month: December, 2012

Serious House on Serious Ground

I’ve been reading Larkin this week. He’s just so good. Here’s “Church Going,” where he wonders what will happen when we stop using churches as churches.

http://www.artofeurope.com/larkin/lar5.htm

 

Thomas

I wrote this poem about a student of mine and a story he told me one afternoon about the demon in his eye.  I found out a few months after I wrote the poem that Thomas is in fact a “colorist,” or one who creates new colors for a living.

 

Thomas

Father Yu told Thomas’s mother

that a demon was living

behind her son’s left eye.

 

He would perform an exorcism,

he said, for half the usual price

because it was only, after all, one eye.

 

Thomas’s mother thanked the priest

and politely turned him down.

Not all demons are bad

she said.

 

Whether that devil still abides

Between Thomas’s brain and Thomas’s eye

is uncertain,

even on the freshest of

pink spring days.

 

Sometimes he feels

like his retinas are being pulled back

like rubber bands,

only he is still waiting

for the eventual

snap.

 

In that case,

maybe the creature has made his way

down into Thomas’s nose,

monkey arms reaching

to swing on Thomas’s retinas,

hoping to suck on the

vitreous humor within.

 

Some cherry blossom evenings

Thomas does hear music

that may or may not be played by anyone

in particular

and some dying afternoons

his brow furrows and he doesn’t know the world

as his mother home,

but more a vacation abroad

he has taken before.

 

I have been in this place

as long as Daegu City

he says,

long enough to exorcise my mother,

Japan, all of the colors.

 

So tell me why to this day

I cannot stand

the smell

of Holy Water.