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Poetry Magnum Opus

Day 16


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The Crucifixion Of The Bear
“The Teacher asked --  Please raise the window shades -- Two students got up and rolled the shades up in exactly the same way -- on returning to their seats the teacher said -- One of you has it -- the other doesn’t” -- Zen Koan

Con/Jur/d, 4/16/2024

Those of you who been with us since
the first cemetery walk, will recall the crucified
toy bear, slicked back, threatening mildew
remarkably rot free, appearing to be ceramic
the elements having caused a uniformity to
the bedraggled gray synthetic fur like
stuffing sack, the plastic black eyes        peer
beadily into the corner of Floral Park: Historic
Name Dropping and Statuary Garden, reserved for
stillborn, children and one assumes pets, since
you will remember such a striking scene, we’ll
spare you the details and record
only impressions, in the style
of a lesser, mostly
ignored painter
in Claude Monet’s

The sharpness of shadows
delineate Spring, weathermen
can no longer accurately, predict
temperatures in Fahrenheit or

The twisted older tree
standing accidental guard
on two daughters dead in 1913
belies the instability all around us
the shadows its limbs cast
cut darkly through the
freshly greened
feral grass

Taking in the pollen laden air
accompanied by a headache
of unknown origin, possibly
the blood transfusions in the Fall
has introduced a previously unknown
histamine response, like our mother’s
new allergy to Poison Ivy after getting
a kind stranger’s hemoglobin when she

                      had a difficult miscarriage

Surprised by the size of the fly
one wouldn’t think, with the tempest
of temperatures and conditions
it could successfully move
from egg to maggot to pupate
in this short time, maybe
defrosting rather than
sexual reproduction

                        We know the only question
                           worth asking
is, who is replaces the bear
when it rots, synthetic fibers
attract no flies                        yet, the wind
the hail, without miracle, moves stones
uproots trees, reveals squared hollows among
grassroots, boneless in this damp, an occasional
gold tinted splinter, yet each season
a crucified bear, often rehung, on
the cheap gray slowly rotting crossbeam
with the peeling faded gold, squared mailbox
letters: SNUG  L  S
            This season, however
a separate board of equally suspicious
scrap-pile provenance, upon which our toy
bear, who one suspects
was never called Teddy, is attached
                                           sitting upon
                                           a pile of other
                                           stuffed and rotting
                                           toys, Hieronymus
                                           corpses, the idea of
                                           play, is similar to the

dog, who brings to his companion
a human femur expecting to play fetch
it seemed, the bottom toy was of Disney’s Pluto
Partially buried in the freshly defrosted muck
teeming now with worms
and nematodes

And, if we were to know, who lovingly refreshes
this memorial, this gate to the underworld
this statement, unobserved yet,  maintained
or at least ignored by the caretakers, and
gravediggers, would we want to meet them?

We may say yes / You may say no

Which one of us has it
which one of us

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