Poetry: Rattlebone’s Rant


A version of this story ran in the July 2015 issue.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone
that the prize is a restless night
and a bruise that will not heal.

As it turns out, the skin
is not a metaphor for anything
and the face in the mirror

is just the face in the mirror.
Just think: All that porcelain
really was plastic after all

and all those mountains
really mole hills, and the horizon
only repeats itself over and over

like the bird outside your window.
Oh, and that dream you kept
gabbing about; as it turns out

It was only an overweight
bureaucrat lost in a maze
of papyrus and cuneiform.

Well, the mercy’s gone to fat.
The largess was always too little.
And what’s left, a bed of shards,

a rant that once resembled reason,
pieces of a puzzle you thought
might even fit together?

Welcome to a Texas summer. I like the slightly hallucinogenic meditation on place and language and reality in Strahan’s poem, especially as another election cycle launches. — Naomi Shihab Nye