April is Poetry Month: Poem a Day #14

Taken from the Knopf site; direct link below.

Poem-a-Day

Edward Hirsch lost his son twenty-two-year-old son, Gabriel, in 2011. His most recent book is the frank elegy of a father who wants to see his son’s death clearly but also to narrate his life, in all its vivid and vexing detail, before it is rubbed dim by memory. Gabriel is one long poem, but the ten tercets on each page also make for individual shorter poems, allowing pauses for breath as the page turns or an image stops time for a moment. In this section, Hirsch ponders the difficulty of telling the story at all, given the “Lord of Misadventure” that was Gabriel.

                   

From the storybook of bluster
And bad judgment
From the annals of loneliness

From the history of kids he met
On the street in special programs
It was dangerous to stay in Amherst

Lord of Misadventure
I’m scared of rounding him up
And turning him into a story

God of Scribbles and Erasures
I hope he shines through
Like a Giacometti portrait

I keep scraping the canvas
And painting him over again
But he keeps slipping away

He was like a spider
Preyed on by other spiders
And older insects

Sweet venom
His arrivals were swift
And his departures sudden

I couldn’t understand how
He lifted the shower door
Right off its hinges

When Gabriel cooked
The flames rose too high
And the fire alarm sounded

When the fire alarm sounded
He tore it off the wall
And left the wires dangling

~ Edward Hirsch