Thursday, March 09, 2017

A poem

Reading the review of Elizabeth Bishop's latest biography made me pretty ... sad for her, if that is the emotion. Indignant. The cruelties that can fill out a life are astonishing. And here's a poem about it, which I'll call the Abusers, even though 'abuse' strikes me as an abstract, euphemizing term for something as material as chewing.
We know them now – some knew them then –
Their hands so smooth, their zippers open
Bishop’s Uncle George, Woolf’s step brother Gerald, 
In the dirty labyrinth of home, biography traces these
Stravrogins, hangmen of the kid
Whose limp body dangles under a lifetime’s lid
Better, you say, that a rock were tied around their necks?
But it never was. Wrecks produce wrecks
While they smiled, serving dinner, above heaped plates
Like some impenetrable masculine fate
They stuck their knives into the shepherd pie
Thinking themselves the boys that made the little girl cry.

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