I need the brevity of a short, fresh poem right now
(lifespan-short) that I can shoe-horn between instants
but yet, in this pinch, says so much I’ll understand brevity
and duration by the depth of the calluses they leave on my brain

But it’s not happening, is it?
Already I’m up to six lines,
so it’s too late for abbreviation

What I need then is one a little longer
whose elaboration is (at least) pithy, without rolling on
deeply and forever, Amazon-like

a poem without the detours topography makes
of rivers and streams, or the cul de sacs
of human mistakes

but now I see this won’t end here
in brute summation like a dead fish
wrapped in newsprint warning of impending
but once-avoidable consequence

no, it’ll go on who knows why or when
until all nouns, verbs, conjugations
and absolute phrases have been spent

until this mine of memory and metaphors
is no more replete than the store
of meanings, dragged inside-out
by the flow of pregnant clauses in blood
which led to others and others and others
like cups spilled into the flow
of a sea-bound flood of sisters and brothers

by Jim Culleny


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