Jubilate Agno

There are
days when I can’t even plant
a Rose

of Sharon
in the right place, too close, too

much space, what-
ever and every day the same pages
to face, writing

not writing, and none
of it as real
as the feel of twenty-weight

bond, which is itself
less real

than the tree they took
it from
or the leaves that stick to the eaves

every fall
every goddam time

we stumble into winter, or the way
my mother-
in-law bends to pick up her own

paper, her
newspaper, and loses her balance
for the umpteenth

time and floats
down to bang her head on the doorknob

or (who can tell) the stainless-steel
rail beneath]
the turquoise foliage

in the rain-stained
wallpaper pattern in the evergreen East wing

hall at Camilla
Hill where the assorted
artificial hips

and knees and the goddam paper leaves
on the goddam
paper trees are almost as real

as the lilac-scented
air we struggle to breathe

James Lineberger

If you've any comments on this poem, James Lineberger would be pleased to hear from you.

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