poem index

Laocoön

by Jack Chelgren

Eh, the spring came back, taking
one stair at a time. A coiled silver squirrel:
I quaked when I sensed it, heaved
when it touched me. The spring snapped,
promenaded throughout me, a tremor.
From some sea it mined me.
Now I’m terrified of dying,
I have scabs on both of my feet.
 
A bald man who looks like me
takes a red knife to his hand, his red hand.
He chews out a splinter,
then mops the floor, figure eights.
Steam climbs from the sud-streaks
and walks off, taking the stairs
in a hurry, not pausing
to view our family portraits.
 
It is 8:25. Where are the Swiss now
to keep us lonely and accurate?
We prize some people only
for their mountains. We fear and envy
a death like Laocoön’s, coiled up, dis-
membered. So we nominate sentries,
we tack our eyes to the skyline.
But there is no fighting some snakes.