Our feature this week is a previously unpublished poem by Brain Swann. Swann’s new collection of poems will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press.
Through the open window comes “America” again played in the park
by a Marine band among statues, some broken, one a large bird trying
to leave the stone, and then come the voices of the couple upstairs
who have installed a new oven. It’s all they talk about, new oven,
what they’ll make in it, even how they’ll start a new career in it.
Meanwhile my wife is making a career out of making a baby.
It’s all she talks about, “career” is the word she uses. I look it up:
to go about wildly. She reports that the foetus, Little Ludwig, is musical
and kicks. While I am walking on eggshells, our blatospheric dot, our
little gemule, is knotting into himself, blossoming, rhyming naturally,
growing by division, week by week, month by month, preparing for
publication. He has big plans, she says. As for me, I’m looking out
the window at the bird in the stone, remembering Pavlova’s famous
last words: Hand me my swan costume. Where did she think she was going?