After hearing Simic for the first time

in an undergrad poetry survey

I was briefly unmade, the same way

in art class I’d break down the clay miniature

when I hadn’t got the posture right,

rolling limbs, legs, and head under my palm

into one oblong dough to start again.


Being a student of engineering

my response in those half half seconds

of fecundity was something like pre-panic,

a nervous finger perched on the button

of my brain threatening to solve it, a feeling

intimate in the way it precedes intellect,

tumorous and phlegmatic, the verge of crisis.


And thank God the teacher explained Simic

Probably suffered from PTSD.

Feeling absolute again, I reclined.

That empty field was probably some battlefield.

The apple was sin, the scarecrow must’ve been Jesus.

R. Charboneau

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