Poetry Friday - The Collected Works of Susan Ramsey
From Poetry Northwest, Fall 2001
A Mind Like This
is like looking through that drawer
for Scotch tape and coming up instead
with the instructions for the digital watch
you threw away three years ago, a maze
made of cheap pink plastic and three ball bearings,
the scissors you warned them were only for fabric, a roll
of the paper tape they gave you to close your eye
for sleep that spring you had Bell's Palsy, and half
a pack of basil seeds.
It's missing the Big Play because you're busy watching
the lovers quarrel two rows down, look up
as the crowd surges to its feet around you,
touchdown. It's knowing they used sets from King Kong
as tinder for the burning of Atlanta
while being uncertain of your best friend's birthday,
forgetting the name of your fifth niece, but knowing Carlo
was Emily Dickinson's dog. When a mind like this
hears that Burleigh Grimes was the last pitcher
to throw a legal spitball in '43,
you'd think it had spotted a sapphire in the gravel.
It's saving pocket lint and bottle caps
while bread and diamonds thunder down the chute.
It's a theater where pleasure and frustration
are mutual understudies, a computer
which refuses to interface seven fifteenths of the time.
It's dutifully viewing the list of cathedral features
in Strasbourg, then watching the memories dragged like sand
from a beach besieged by wave after wave of years,
until only a bit of carved stone remains, a fragment
small enough to lodge in a human heart.
Of course you didn't take a photograph.
And of course sensible friends return with cameras
full of statues and windows and twenty-foot clocks,
asking vaguely, "Where was that again?"
Be comforted. This ridiculous mind will save
your incised memory of the tenth pulpit step,
preserving for you how some particular hand
carved under a stone leaf, small in all that grandeur,
his round-skulled puppy, sleeping, chin on paws.
This week's round-up courtesy of Hip Writer Mama.