by Peter Cooley
All afternoon: the rain, monotonous, my prison bars.
This room, the monotony of my body, spirit up against it,
cell within the cell. How is it once
I had to call to you who daily now appear
wrapped in dark clouds, storming my study’s view
upon the backyard, to soliloquize and brood,
utterly unasked for? Now you are here, ranting,
the black sun rising as melancholy locks me up
inside a moment I cannot move beyond.
Hamlet, I am sentenced to you, whom I hoped
after my youth to break out of, to be
as other men, outgrowing your indecisions,
vatic and manic, for the world of business
paved with busyness, reorganized each morning.
Now I am too long melancholy, fifty-three,
to shake off these poles in which I vacillate
unable to take hold, seize, articulate
even my love to three children or a wife
without some swoon or rage or savage quip
which answers to the name of action. I would banish
you to a foreign country under false pretense
did I know I would flee myself
in that self-same breath. Hush, brother,
the rain begins to fall more softly
hearing me confessing this. Now you can sleep.
I’ll keep the watch all night if need be for your sake.
We have the ghosts of more than fathers between us, stalking.