Frederick Wilbur – 1 poem

Asylum: Way of Being

            

It is characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.

                                                Thoreau (Walden, “Economy”)

            

For the dignity of labor, I break

my body just as tin soldiers die

of metal fatigue, as truce flags beg

until their fray is woven among twigs

of goldfinch nests. My hand tools

become mantle shelf antiques, valuable

to collectors in pristine uselessness:

            my making made me.

            

For honesty of heart, I spray paint

through the stencil of my handicap

as proof of concept; to old friends confess

miscalculated desires, the way

apple trees drop their benevolence

as a catalog of worms. Regret

undermines confidence, so says

            this voice of ink.

            

For the refuge of mind, I cross

off the been theredone that, the else to do.

I am the out of focus child

in witness snapshots like a humble god,

but I have traveled the Middle Way

like a hemlock falling precisely between

gravestone rows, the way a latch-bolt

             snugs to its keeper.

            

Frederick Wilbur’s first book of poetry is As Pus Floats the Splinter Out. A second poetry collection, Conjugation of Perhaps is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Publishing. His work has appeared in many print and on-line reviews including Shenandoah, The Atlanta Review, the Comstock Review, The Dalhousie Review, Rise Up Review and New Verse News.

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