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 maquette

when I hadn’t gotten the posture right,

rolling limbs, legs, and head under my palm

into one oblong dough, starting over.


Being a student of engineering

my reaction in those first half seconds

of fecundity was unchecked panic,

a nervous finger perched on the button

threatening to solve it, a feeling so

intimate the way it precedes intellect,

unnerving and desperately phlegmatic.


Thank god the teacher explained that Simic

Probably suffered from PTSD.

Feeling absolute again, I reclined.

The empty field was just some battlefield.

The apple was sin, the scarecrow must’ve been…

R. Charboneau

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