Joel Brouwer’s A REPORT TO AN ACADEMY, from the 12/06 POETRY. You can also hear him pick his seven favorite love poems , or read more of his POETRYies. I have nothing to add to it. It seems to me like a poem that cannot be improved. I can’t say the same thing about 2008 – but then, I have nothing to add to it, either. Perhaps in that respect it is perfect, in that it is complete.
A Report to an Academy
by Joel Brouwer
And so among the starry refineries
and cattail ditches of New Jersey
his bus dips from egg-white sky into shadow.
When he next looks up from Kafka a blur
of green sanatorium tile flows by
then presto, Port Authority, full daylight.
He has been cheated of the river, dawn,
a considered fingering of his long
and polished rosary of second thoughts.
Is it any wonder children are born
weeping? Out to Eighth Avenue to walk
twenty blocks home to her sleeping curve
beneath a sheet. He cracks three eggs into
a bowl and says to each, Oh you got trouble?
The yellow yolk is his, the orange is hers,
the third simply glistens, noncommittal.
Except to mention Kafka’s restlessness
before his death, his trips from spa to spa
to country house to sanatorium,
and that she’s awake now, sweet with sleep sweat,
patting her belly’s taut carapace and yes
hungry as an ape but first a kiss mister
how was your trip and what have you brought us,
and that the knowledge that dooms a marriage
is the knowledge prerequisite to marriage,
the poem has nothing further to report.