In Memory of Belle- by Rustin Larson
JC (a person who will never speak
to me again because I goofed up his poems
in a magazine I published in the ’80s)
and I once cheered up Belle in grad school
because they had savaged her poems
in workshop. From the reading hall, we had
borrowed the framed portrait of an old Vermont Academic.
He stood in cap and gown in the painting.
We set him up in JC’s room with a garland
of flowers and we burned incense
like an initiation ceremony for some technique.
We called him “Lord Nobel” and we told
Belle he would bless her poems and she
would have great success.
This morning there was a young deer
in my backyard nibbling mulberries from the ground.
My cat Simon watched the deer calmly
from the window of the sliding door
which faces our weathered deck.
The deer ate calmly until a garbage truck
swung the corner on the next block
and the deer loped away toward some other
yard or garden north of the east/west thoroughfare.
I have many friends I can rightly say I know
nothing about. We all write in journals
much like this one, a Moleskine, favored
by the likes of Hemingway and others.
We have jobs and personal lives, debts,
legal hassles, moments of inexplicable
silence and surrender perhaps, horrific losses,
simple delights, existential crises, and by choice
or not we lose contact and are staggered
when one of us evaporates.
I close my eyes and my mind is a geodesic dome
of leaded glass. An owl lands on one of the panes
and is distorted, its eyes huge and grotesque.
He looks in at the placid pool of tar
I’ve become, a place worshipped by owls
who glide over infinite lakes of the stuff.