——— for Robert Lowell
At Roosevelt, the orderlies were forced to break
your wrists — the large brown-paper parcel
that you clutched against your breastbone held
in place by rigor mortis. That it should end
like this — your death and final moments thick
with parable and irony. Your briefcase filled
with notes for poems you’d never re-arrange —
an illustrated postcard of the Vinalhaven Islands —
the salts that they prescribed to help you fasten
down your brain. A yellowhammer stiffened
on the newsprint in its cage — your heart —
undone by injury — gave up without complaint.
Magnolia and ginkgo trees were breaking into flame.
Your taxi like a solar barge. Its nose against the waves.
PHILLIP CRYMBLE is a physically disabled poet from Belfast now living in Atlantic Canada. A poetry editor at The Fiddlehead, he received his MFA from the University of Michigan and has published poems in Guesthouse, Couplet Poetry, Vassar Review, Passages North, The Michigan Quarterly Review, Tar River Poetry, The Hollins Critic, and elsewhere. In 2019, he was selected as the winner of the Penny-Farthing Prize for Lyric Poetry by Diane Seuss.
Art: “Monochromata 2” by Max Cavitch, Digital Photograph