Left and found

Left and found

“To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.” —Cheslaw Milosz

The worst interview of my life:
I want the memory to stop
slapping me in the forehead.
I would have been a teacher,
but the three-day introduction
at the art school in the mountains
fell like bear shit in snow. I got
shut and shy, retriggered faults,
sat with the maintenance staff
instead of my future fellows
because it was the first seat
I saw in the strange dining hall.
My friend who’d opened the door
for me stopped meeting my eyes.
The last morning, I slipped away
like a whisper through the snow,
hazarding the icy roads to leave.
The teachers—they had put me
with the one boy who was not
fitting in thinking, perhaps,
we could help each other.

I believe in redemption,
so I’ll go back into that time
with skis and with honey,
with sage and age, a candle
and a poem. I’ll let my body
untangle the monkey puzzle,
and not merely surrender
to the wisdom of timing
(I have no trouble doing that).
Let me say this now: I was one
to be proud of, then, and I can
demonstrate why and how.
It will take more than a poem
in words. You will need to see
me dance it out—I will need to.


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