Tuesday, September 14, 2004

NEW! Theo Hummer poem

Theo Hummer


The letter he carried from the border read in part, “I have never let him leave the house, but he can learn to do anything if you show him once. If you can’t keep him you'll have to beat him to death.” The only words he could say were “I want to be a rider like my father,” but he could write the name Kaspar Hauser.

Horse you call me, horse, and my dog
horse. Horse lapping milk
by the barn-door, horse perched
on a twig and singing. When I kill
the horse buzzing round
my curing cheese, you wail and will not
be consoled. They would have
hung you in the chimney,
you. Uncallused. You can feel
the movements of the ether. I
know. I’ll hold the magnet
to your chest, you’ll say it’s
blowing. Turned round: it’s pulling
something out of me. That’s after
you learn words: quickly. Maybe just
remembering what you knew
before the nothing? Small as me
with clumsy tender hands. Talk is
you are not interested
in men and women, how they spend
their bitter nighttime sweat. They think
you are a boy: your too-large soldier’s
clothes the day you just
appeared. You said
you want to be a rider like
no one who’s ever brushed
the hair back from your
burning. Can read in total
darkness and you know me
as beech from birch--by
smell. A whiff of wine’s enough
to make you drunk. Your favorite color’s
red: first-time-shod heels, the scar
over your heart. I’ve bathed
you. Said your first Once
upon a time, whispered the boy’s name
you wrote in charcoal on my
apron. Whispered in the kitchen
door, you heard me
from the stall. You want
to be. Brilliant learner, when
you awe the local cavalry I won’t say
anything. Won’t tell I watched you
point out constellations
in daylight. Talk is I never
leave the barn these days. Its
horsey darkness. I’m remembering how
to see, to smell and taste black
bread, metal and static. Pull, it’s pulling,
what I know. It’s something out
of me.

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