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Tom O’Bedlam

By
December 1, 2010

Flat lake stagnant with pondweed,
pickerelweed, dollar bonnet,
maidencane, spatterdock—

there’s no compass here.
The toothy dredge crackles along
the bottom, uprooting snails

and snappers. Put your foot
in that water, and you’ll lose a toe,
or worse, a whole foot.Creaturely

body, scummed over, skimmed by
the herons and egrets, and with nowhere
to go. Most days he’s talking to himself

again—what do I say? I am just
the woman on the plane reading
Codex on the Flight of Birds.

Drag and lift, yaw and pitch, get me
out of here. Heartsick has a smell,
a blue smell, like a country rain

on a stagnant lake, sulphurous
mud, pinpricks on the water,
blooms of algae green as bile.

He can hear me, a tinny sparrow
in his mildewed ear, and even without
a map it’s chip and cheep—it’s sing.

G

A.Marrin80.jpgAubrie Marrin‘s poems have appeared in Pequod, Minetta Review, and Western Humanities Review. Born in upstate New York, she received her MFA in Poetry from Columbia University in 2005. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

Poet’s Recommendations:

Romanian Poems by Paul Celan.

The Heights of Macchu Picchu by Pablo Neruda.

Birds of America: Stories by Lorrie Moore.

Homepage photo via Flickr by Rosa Say

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