Never to Return
Feb. 27, 2011
Today a ladybug flew through my window. I was reading
about the snowy plumage of the Willow Ptarmigan
and the song of the Nashville Warbler. I was reading
the history of weather, how they agreed at last
to disagree on cloud categories. I was reading a chronicle
of the boredom that called itself The Great Loneliness
and caused a war. I was reading mosquitoes rode
to Hawaii on the same ship that brought the eucalyptus
to California to function now as a terrible fire accelerator.
Next to me almost aloud a book said doctors can
already transplant faces. Another said you know January
can never be June so why don’t you sleep little candle?
A third one murmured some days are too good,
they had to have been invented in a lab. I was paging
through a book of unsent postcards. Some blazed
with light, others were a little dim as if someone
had breathed on the lens. In one it forever snowed
on a city known as the Emerald in Embers, the sun had
always just gone behind the mountains, never to return,
and glass buildings over the harbor stayed filled with
a sad green unrelated light. The postcard was called
The Window Washers. In handwriting it said,
Someone left an important window open, and Night
the black wasp flew in and lay on the sill and died.
Sometimes I stop reading and find long black hairs
on my keyboard and would like you to know that in 1992
I mixed Clairol Dye #2 with my damaged bleached hair
to create a blue green never seen before, my best look
according to the girl at the counter who smiled only once,
I know less than I did before, and I live on a hill where
the wind steals music from everything and brings it to me.
“Never to Return” is from Matthew Zapruder’s book Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), which was selected as one of the top five poetry books of 2010 by Publishers Weekly and as a 2010 Booklist Editors' Choice. He will be reading at UWM’s Hefter Center, 3271 N. Lake Drive, at 7:30 PM on Thursday, March 3.