Death and the Writer
Was it Schiller or Goethe who stored rotting
apples in his desk? The story changes.
Joyce wrote with blue crayons on cardboards
lying on his stomach in his white coat.
Flannery surrounded herself
with the gazing eyes of peacock feathers.
I sit and stare at a snowdrift of pages,
searching for that which disappears.
Clad in her mother’s fur coat, Sexton
turned on the engine of her awful rowing.
Apples, white coat, feathers, fur coat …
mushrooming into lore,
mesmeric as a boy’s heart suspended
in formaldehyde in a jar
Stephen King keeps at his bedside.
Against this windowless corner
my desk shrinks as I scribble.
I Miss You
I miss you like I miss Manhattan,
Its synergy, kinesis, can-do attitude.
I yearn for our Dutch Golden Age or
Bygone era of the Italian Renaissance.
Where’s the moon in daytime? You I crave
Like being read grim fairy tales in bed. How
Dancing feet long for tap shoes. I miss you
Bad as a Barbara Walters primetime special.
Maple syrup slow to trickle, tapped from
Old trees. Bee in winter, let us escape to
Tropical Christmas, stocking stuffers of
Chocolate coins and apples from China.
I’m an open umbrella without a metal
Stem. Humming that pop song with the
Deserts missing the rain. Oh, I so miss
You with the sorrow of Switzerland.
You’re photographs in a house afire.
Shrimp paste I’m now allergic to eat.
Art exhibition or play I meant to see.
My retrospective. Limbs a-phantom.
The last night you were alive
I woke up abruptly, my skies
Nearing blue on the other
Half of a large country. Apart
Most of our lives we never
Learned togetherness, unable
Even to attempt. Arrested.
Opposite pages of a book.
I envisioned you best from
Afar, theatrical spotlight
Beaming over your hospice
Bed out west. I resided where
None of my ancestors landed.
I needed to be someplace safe.
JOSEPH O. LEGASPI is the author of Threshold and Imago both from CavanKerry Press, and two chapbooks: Aviary, Bestiary (Organic Weapon Arts) and Subways (Thrush Press). His works have appeared in POETRY, New England Review, Best of the Net, Poetry Daily, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day. He co-founded Kundiman, a non-profit organization serving Asian American writers.