Poetry By Brian Sheffield


if you haven’t noticed

i’m plagiarizing

By Brian Sheffield

When the last poem is ever written

there will be a tempest of leaves falling

away from the giggling face of a

hoary ash tree in the front yard. The sun

will be angled in the sky like the lure

of a deep sea fish; and though there will be

no teeth, there will be lights, a crash, and then

a mother bending somewhere to pick up

broken shards with a torn rag she intended

to throw away three months ago. As a

given hand — shaking either in gawking

old age or in the misunderstandings

of nervous youth; or else calm and stilled in

experience or confident secrecy —

begins the first syllable of that last

poem ever written, a small dog will

fail to catch the mailman as a

black and white spotted cat loudly licks its

own asshole, openly, in that way that

animals do familiar things, which some

of us humans, sometimes absurdly, keep

held to our own privacy. The dog will

bark incessantly, and the cat will pause

to look up, make eye contact with some other

living beast, and then move its head to the

left, one leg lifted like a strange antenna,

as it slowly blinks, before it starts once

again on its immortal task of faux

cleanliness and the casual nature

of a publicized and personal pleasure.

Only the mother, rising from her work

to run the back of her hand across her

brow, will think of the last poem ever 

written. She will walk across the kitchen

to finally throw that damn rag away.

And she will turn her head slowly to the right

and look out the living room window, where

the mailman continues down the block

and turns left when there is nowhere else to go.

BIO: Brian Sheffield is a performance poet. He is co-founder of Mad Gleam Press and co-editor of POST(blank), a bilingual, French-American Word-Art publication. He has performed and been published internationally among predominantly independent circles.

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