Poetry 2011 / Volume 42

Med Head — Tony Tracy

One world is enough for all of us
–The Police

To prove to myself I haven’t lost capacity to spring
a lark, I sport a stocking cap and leather gloves while clad
in running shorts. I declare it’s time to fire up
the mower, to oil and gas the old cutter a month past
the growing season. My wife thinks I’ve lost it,
wonders aloud if I’ve stopped taking my meds–round
versions of SSRI’s halved and quartered, horse capsules
of lithium carbonate swallowed deliberately, ingested faithfully,
in astute obeisance with mental health practitioners
who feel my receptivity to the world should be “tweaked”,
“dialed down”. Grotesquely amused, my boys fall into
fits of lunacy when they catch my appearance. Travel having
kept me from fall rituals, I wish to tend my modest
lot of suburban sprawl. Today rinds of frost glaze
the rooftops, flakes flutter and jig, bejewel the air.
Under a blustery, gunmetal sky I imagine the pear trees
that must have dazzled scant weeks ago–crimson fire
contained within the shape of a match’s head. Today their
shriveled remains clack like a death rattle in the November chill.
And though the succulence of summer is gone, there remains
a strange need to commemorate, to honor a transitional moment
though the moment is gone. I wave towards the neighbors’
incredulous faces, salute the cars that slow and stare as I push
and pull the rust-measled Toro over the yard with the euphoric vigor
of a man released minutes before the gallows, from the detention
of is life as a prisoner of hell, from the self-nullifying wounds
of his own affliction–turbulent malady of trying to live
in two worlds at once.

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