When you asked if I have met the man in Glűck’s “In the Café”

I don’t think I have met this man,
but often I have been this man, and it scares me,
how I forget the dreams in which I’ve lived,
and the pain my forgetting brings those I have loved.

I read Glűck the way I eat food that makes me feel bad.
I love her, the no-nonsense of her, the sad stark word of her,
but she bloats me with shadows and trapped moths.

I approach her poems the way I watch a horror movie,
rarely, invisible hands ready to dart over mouth, eyes, or heart,
whatever is vulnerable, but they don’t move.
I just witness her ripping, or ripped.

Something in her work poisons me, but I go back to it.
I nibbled only a few of her poems earlier today,
and they corroded me somehow by dinner,
tears stopping in my throat over the browning ground turkey.

Last year, before he left, when I learned she was once poet laureate,
I bought her compilation: The First Four Books of Poems.
I remember one night, he, having read some of this book, was quiet
in the La-Z-boy, slow moving through rooms, to think I might feel about him
the way she wrote about her husband, repulsed by the crush of his body.

I think I love her, because in her poems lives are lived that I don’t want to live,
that I feel seeded in me, that I don’t want to water or show spring.
Some, before ever reading them, I have groomed and watched
wilt and consume the smaller, tender shoots of me.

I want to stop reading the way she writes me, but I can’t. Not completely.

Today, searching for her online, inadvertently
running into her late 30s face—our age!—
and the images of her now in her late 60s,
my stomach was raked by what savoring sorrow has done to her skin,
my eyes a bright sting, fearing this might happen to mine.

So, there it is. Me on Glűck.  Glűck in me.

I love her because she terrifies,
eats the hopeless, ropey insides of my fallen soldiers, a Morrigan.
Her black beak sets hope free.

2009

One Response to “When you asked if I have met the man in Glűck’s “In the Café””

  1. wit says:

    why? why should the anguish of bleakness ease my own? it does.

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