Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

This is my body and what's more
of an odyssey than having one thought
after another. I know drink of my blood
and the word for this, finally, is adore.
That tyrannical summer Jesus said the kingdom
of god is within you. The word for that
is essential. Then zipping his windbreaker,
he walked to his car. The new dust
is the old dust summer kicks up
on the screen. I remember I rode you
and that was all. There was that day I could only go back     
to the same places—tyranny, essentially—
but getting there when everyone's just gone,
only to smell the smell their lunches
left tied to the air. Now that I am not who I was
then, the streets are sheer. The antique shop
& bar where I learned darts are empty even
of spit. I am alone seeing ghosts the night
someone famous, maybe a writer, has died.
The night no bigger than the shape of this
body holding every detail like a brother
holds his brother. And consider this
dark horse: swaying home from the dumpster
an opossum unbuckles—a two-step,
essentiallyto the kind of song that holds as its dance
a square of light clicking on then off.




Another poem about loneliness—"shock me shock me shock me with that deviant behavior!" Part of the poem's essence is the loneliness of a kind of outsiderness. Another part has to do with a set of universal conceptual metaphors that people tend to use to talk about and describe themselves—one such metaphor structure is that the "essential is central." For example, "get to the heart of something" is a metaphor that implies getting not only to a physical center, but to the meat or crux of an experience, knowledge set, and so on. So the poem attempts to explore that idea. I've been interested in these types of metaphors since I first stumbled across them in an article from the Royal College of Psychiatry. I also wrote this after seeing an opossum in the middle of the night outside my apartment when I lived in central Illinois. It was the creepiest thing and it scared the crap outta me.