Perhaps My End Will

by David Blomenberg

approach like a truck,
            will see my face in profile when it comes,
                         my head turned to pick just the right disc
                         to put in the car player,
            will leave unresolved the question
                         of Janacek or Wang Chung

yet be in the debris of a collapsed building,
            though three tornadoes have failed,
            though the schools I’ve attended,
                         filled with liquid soap and prehistoric
                         layers of floor wax,
            though malls I’ve loitered hopelessly in,
                         which smelled of caramel corn
                         and incense sticks
were demolished well after I had vacated the premises

be notable enough to be featured slightly disguised, on a television show
            like the woman killed by blue ice from an airplane
            like the man, middle aged, fished out of a pickle vat at
                         the Heinz plant, smelling of dill but remarkably

be comedic like so many times on stage,
            like the fall I imagined to keep me from fainting
                         as I stood at the top of the thirty-foot risers
                         in the Hall of Music, singing Christmas hymns
                         naked under the choir robe, all the other seniors
                         complicit in the same stunt
            like the unexpected slide across the snotslick ballroom floor,
                         right under the banquet table surrounded by alumni
                         veterinarians and distinguished guests, my foot wedged
                         under the center leg, blood siphoning into my cordovan
                         loafer, the drinks streaming off the snowy edge of the linen,
                         but the cue had come and I sang to the woman, you’re good
                         enough to eat, held her hand from under the table because
                         that was what the show demanded
and in this way, my end will comply simply with what is expected

be due to the Russian appendectomy, but not due to appendicitis,
            which has been thankfully resolved. That vestigial organ
                         is gone, but signs show that the procedure isn’t yet
                         done with me.
                                     Item: A playing-card-sized section of my belly
                                                  no longer feels anything. Is moldable
                                                  as doll-flesh
                                     Item: Two small scars in my side from which I seeped
                                                  for a week
                                     Items (numerous): The roaches I killed in my ward room
                                                  to keep me from thinking that night was already
                                                           that the cold would seep again through the window,
                                                           that the city view from it was immobile,
                                                                        as if no one out there lived,
                                                                                    no tree,
                                                                                    no dog,
                                                           that I was well behind foreign borders

be part of an art installation, such as one by a man in New York (mid-eighties), who:

           a. built great piles of light-blue candy on the floor
           b. placed signs in front of the piles, encouraging patrons to enjoy their sweetness
           c. carefully chose the color to match the hospital gown of his love
           d. formed the candy to the shape of the pills he took
           e. weighed the piles to match his weight and that of his love before the virus
           f. watched the piles dwindle, as the show was a great success

will be due to late-onset anxiety brought on by

           1. the chain-smoking surgeon who scolded me in rapid-fire Russian
                    for waiting so long to come in for consultation, his gloved finger up my ass,
           2. the nightmare enema-brigade the day after of stout post-Soviet recovery-ward
                    nurses who came in with one nozzle for us all to share

be like the Glee Club gig in Chicago could have been, from the top of the Loop
            high-rise, the door to which was discovered open and the baritones
            climbed the iron ladder to the top of the elevator shack which had no
            parapet, and any trip would have sent three of us sprawling, necktied,
            night-filled, into the cold air between those spartan offices with their wheeled
            chairs motionless, their tubular lights, their unpeopled spaces
            tiled with glass.

David Blomenberg resides in Indianapolis and recently received his MFA in Poetry from Purdue University. He has been a regular reviewer of new classical music recordings for His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review, Artifice, and The Sycamore Review, which is also where his interview of Poet Laureate Rita Dove has recently appeared and an interview with Ted Kooser will soon be published.

Back to Issue Nine: Fall 2010