Notes for an Ecstatic Palinode

— Jeremy Allan Hawkins

There was never a catastrophe,
no steel mill, no pears.
The monarchy was not restored.
There were, however, more birds
than I thought tasteful
to mention. But we left no one
floating on a raft. If we ate something,
we shot nothing. We had no stable
of lesser monsters. You stole
nothing remarkable; a crime uncovered
without making headlines.
Credit was given out
with abandon. You gave me
everything I asked for
& several nice shirts.
There was no weather,
not any worth reporting.
The clocks did not lie.
I remained buried
in my body
& reached no epiphany.
I never looked for you—
I did not love you. I did love winter
& what it did for my wardrobe.
I did not love myself.
I had no experience with sailing.
Someone else sent you that bouquet.
If I became a bear, it was in a forest
of grouse. The poem was a washing
machine. The book, a yarn.
I never undid myself.
The apples were turning.
The monarchy was never over-
thrown. No solace was offered,
or necessary. The village, it turns out,
never existed. We can still count
our other lives, we could have made
fine strangers. The story needed
no teller. I am not a subject
of grief. I never liked squash.

Read more from Issue No. 23 or share on Twitter.