Proteus

By Edward Butscher

After another pensioned day, the dream

rips at my chest like a clutched wolverine

clawing me into a field of pine skeletons

battle-decapitated near a sludge current

tumbling too swiftly to float survivors.

 

I flounder in mud without legs and arms

terrified by a helplessness acres below

metaphor, childhood’s cinema horror:

 

a black circus freak with an infant body

wrapped in burlap like a peanut grub

writhing toward tented light and grave.

 

I wrench myself awake with a sweaty will

pinned under the sun’s tons of gorgeous swill.

 

___

Edward Butscher is the author of first biographies of Sylvia Plath and Conrad Aiken, as well as shorter books on Adelaide Crapsey and Peter Wild, much criticism, and several books of poems, most recently, Eros Descending.


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