TANTALUS IN MAY by Reginald Shepherd.

When I look down, I see the season’s blinding flowers,
the usual mesmerizing and repellent artifacts:
a frat boy who turns too sharply from my stare,
a cardinal capturing vision in a lilac bush

on my walk home. I’m left to long
even for simple dangers. From the waist up
it’s still winter, i left world behind
a long time ago; waist down it’s catching

up, a woodpecker out my window is mining grubs
from some nameless tree squirrels scramble over.
When I turn back it’s gone, I hadn’t realized
this had gone so far. (Everywhere I look

it’s suddenly spring. No one asked
if I would like to open drastically. Look up.
It’s gone.) everywhere fruits dangle
I can’t taste, their branches insurmountable,

my tongue burnt by frost. White boys, white flowers,
and foul mouthed jays, days made of sky-blue boredoms
and everything seen much too clearly:
the utterance itself is adoration, kissing

stolid air. I hate every lovely thing about them….

From Angel, Interrupted copyright 1996, reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Category: Healing,