Cupids Health


The Final Stretch

I am reading
every so slowly
towards the end
of “Wobble” by
the beloved Rae
Armantrout. How
many times I say
her name just to
say it, write it
just to type it
and to show
case a hero
and this time,
today, while
staring down
the same page
for days (for
days!). At
the same
page of
spare and
placed words.
To commem
morate, I take
a photo for my
guy, the lover
I have yet to
touch, even
after all but
two entire years,
lifetimes, as it
were, thanks
to lives lived
in two separate
and a human
war with a
virus, I snap
a photo just
for him of me
reading slowly
towards the end
of “Wobble.”
For whatever
reason, and
but of course,
the photo that
comes of the
event shows
what appears
to be a mini
ature version,
a wee me, read
ing a gargantuan-
sized version of
her book. An app
ropriate illusion
if ever there was
one. I zap the
photo to the
other hemi
sphere as
we do, and
I immediately
get a call from
him, a video
call. He calls
me because I
have asked him
to call. But only
him. At present,
while I slowly
and slower still
work my way
toward the end
of this wonderful
book, I will only
accept his call,
no other. So I
answer his call,
happily, and read
him two of the
poems from this
wonderful, seem
ingly gigantic
book, one that
certainly has
dwarfed me
in a simple
and quite
adding here
and there to
the words from
the two poems
I have chosen
randomly and
urgently to read
to him, adding my
own words, for
worse, rather than
better, of course,
as if there is need
to explain anything
(there never is with
the Lady Armantrout)
but I giddily explain
and re-explain, att
empting to show a
few of the many
facets of a short
few of the short
stanzas or sections.
First I read “Instuctions”
and as it floats down 

its single page while 
flying like a supersonic 
jet through our brain’s 
while gaining
impossible speed,
yet slowly and stead
fastly floating, the
words, as they do,
down that singular
dizzying path, all the
way to that hard
stop right at the
bottom, as the jets
in our brains have
spun out of control,
maddeningly, and yet
quietly landing us both
somewhere looking at
the same map of London,
a map with two exits out,
one in red, one in blue,
a precocious baby has
died in the arms of a
mother who may have
given birth to her the
day before, an ogre of
a man has shot off un
remembered words filled
with such condescension
that surely he was blaming
the mother for the baby’s
sudden death, words that
loom like the supersonic
explosions we cannot get
out of our heads as we stare
quietly at the map and wonder
which exit is to be ours. Kaboom.
Then, I’m reading “Trick” which
reveals quite assuredly the great
riddle of how you don’t have it
unless you got it… or can get it,
that is. But how? I excitedly
tell him about my poem in
response, in which I’ve so
proudly, I think at first,
turned the riddle back
onto the poem. But
then it hits me, and
I’m so excited I can
barely give emotion
to my thoughts, much
less actual words, which
have, as it turns out, been
done irrevocably and quite
already for me. And you.
And my guy. In explaining
how clever I am, I realize I’ve
been duped – there are no more
riddles – every answer is right
there, and succinctly, on the
page. The sphinx has let out
her dirty little secret for all
to hear and know and rue.
It is a fait accomplis. What
need, therefore, in any add
itional accomplice? Zilcho.
Nada. None. The Secret’s
out. It’s been delivered
directly by the poet. She
had it all along. Played
with it right in front of
us, and then finishes it
so that the secret exists
no more. She knows
this because we know
it, too. She can’t take
it back. And my paltry
attempt to juggle her
well-worn baubles of verity
for a tiny giddy moment
thinking that I was in
any way adding or even
replying or fancifully
retorting to her brilliant
words were nothing more
than fraud, an attempt to
impress my love with a
juggling act that lasts for
maybe a moment or two,
but for what, because the
secret exists no longer,
there’s no need for show,
no need for tell, no need for
frippery, not even for any
engagement of any kind,
and while he does indeed care
for me, he cares not a jot for jugglery.
The show’s over, the juggling’s done,
and even in my embarrassment, I’m
elated to have been there, to have been
so intimate with the words and with my
love, perhaps more intimacy have I
never even known, with the palatable
hope, or rather the sheer knowledge, that fact,
that there will be more and more and much more to come.


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