By C. Wade Bentley

Featured Art: Variations in Violet and Grey—Market Place, Dieppe by James McNeill Whistler

It’s not so much a heaviness,

the oppressive weight of wet wool;

instead, it’s as though my molecules

are moving outward from the center,

mimicking the universal flight

from the Big Bang—though I hear

how grandiose that sounds.

It’s just that the edges become indistinct

and you may begin to see the busy streetlife

right through me, in patches

of color and noise and volition. And soon

I am mixing with the pollen of elms,

the billion billion motes of skin cells

catching fire in the afternoon.

So when I tell you it is almost painful

to see that precariously pregnant young woman

climb the steps to her brownstone, hear

the cans of olives and jars of ragu

clatter and shatter against the wrought iron

because some idiot failed to double-bag,

and that now here I am stooping to help,

here I am cursing bag boys the world round, insisting

that she (Antonia) sit; when I tell you I can actually feel

my joints re-knitting, cells lining up again

with their proper organelles, feel gravity

pulling on these coalescing and corporeal tissues—

you will understand, perhaps, that I am not altogether

happy to be back, but I am here.

C. Wade Bentley teaches writing at Salt Lake Community College and Weber State University. Recent poems of his have appeared in Green Mountains Review, Pebble Lake Review, Cimarron Review, Best New Poets 2007, Jabberwock Review, The Cortland Review, and Connecticut Review.

Originally published in NOR 6

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