De Profundis

James Reidel

A fresh mole tunnel has disturbed the grass. So the earth opens its veins to the sky and where the freemasons would think to pour forth, with their legions, their little martial poses and airs as red as the redcoats I would arrange around my bed swords high and muskets trained only to be smote with my pillow still wet with my face and tears. Time out!

I have a garden hoe now. I have a trap that I could see duct-taped to a broomstick and so brandish the double trident of some final and human dare. But the countermining along the north wall and the children’s bedrooms, which we like to think of as empty “guest rooms,” where all the radiators are closed to save on the heat, has surfaced into the pine bark bed and felled my forest of Echinacea, their stalks leaning this way and that, the purple pompoms and golden eyes that would delight my day like so many false buttons running up and down a birthday clown’s smock.

So I just walk around the house in a mope and tug at the curtains, the chinks in their material, the way I might have wanted that old clown to twist for me yet another deer, another dachshund, or my favorite, the little balloon sword. I named it Cling-clang and burst in front of the other children and parents, squeezing the blade up from the bottom, and on purpose.

So I am miserable in your eyes that travel from this page to the next, feather mites on the blackbird’s wing, who watch like gods flying, looking for some new and blacker forest.

James Reidel has published poems in many journals as well as Jim’s Book (Black Lawrence Press 2014) and My Window Seat for Arlena Twigg (Black Lawrence 2006) and has very recent work in the March 2016 issue of Poetry, Queen Mob’s Teahouse and the forthcoming Hawai’i Review. He is also the biographer of the poet Weldon Kees and a translator who has published works by Thomas Bernhard, Georg Trakl, Franz Werfel and Robert Walser. He is currently working on a collection of prose poems. In 2013, he was a James Merrill House fellow.

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