The 2River View 24.1 (Fall 2019)

Sean Lause

The man who turned inside-out

In a sudden wind
his mind turned inside-out
like an umbrella.
He could feel the spokes of the real
bend, groan, and break
like the spine of that umbrella.
He could feel his own heart,
his veins, his blood, his breath
as if they were at last his own.
Words beheld the things they imagined,
poems dropped gently with the leaves,
and books read deep into their readers.
Then another wind
turned the world inside-out,
and he blossomed into darkness and light.
He heard stars whisper like children,
the night bless lovers with planets conjoined,
and dandelions chant silver to the moon.
Now he lets the storms blow through him,
the sun enlighten, and the moon, in joy,
dream him to the silence of his bones.
And the beasts that guide us home from memory
lead him down their secret paths
he never-always knew might still be there.

The old man in the cage

It is Sunday. The old man in the cage
is wheeled through town again.
His lips tremble with violations.
There must have been a time when he was young.
He signatures the wind with words
they cannot decipher. He is no one.
Though some say he knows when time will end.
His face is a map of sins and visions.
The citizens baptize their cars, their souls
as white as the illusion of innocence.
They toss him mirrors and laughter.
He shows them rage and the seat of his pants.
He is the sum of all their ages,
guilty of a crime he can’t remember.
At sunset they return him to his cave,
where he’ll remain until they need him again
to preen their jaded dream of being gods.

Sean Lause is a professor of English at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio. His poems have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, The Beloit Poetry Journal, and The Minnesota Review. His latest book of poems is Midwest Theodicy (Taj Mahal Review, 2019).

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