I must have dozed off reading Basil Bunting’s
“Briggflatts” poem. Every other stanza
had me groping for the dictionary.

Just before my heavy eyelids began to droop,
I saw what looked like copious tears
weeping down my windowpane—

an exploding summer thunderstorm ensued,
annihilating me when a bolt of lightning crashes
through my window.

Like a Chaplinesque vagabond, I wander around
gazing through plate glass windows, watching diners,
dancing couples, and waiters rushing back and forth,
arms laden with platters of Flambe Chateaubriand,
walleye pike and fiery Sambuca.

I roam barefoot though fields within fields,
a phalanx of blood-red roses brings tears to my eyes.
A scent of smoldering sweet grass fills the air—
a doe with soft brown eyes nibbles at my toes.
I climb on top a caravan of aircraft-inspired
aluminum bodies, vintage Airstream Caravels
reflected in a brilliant silver light
distorted by Coney Island funhouse mirrors.

I tap dance across their roofs singing like Gene Kelly—
a muster of Peacocks shimmy and shake alongside,
flaring their feathers like Gypsy Rose Lee.

Suddenly, I find myself in bed lying cheek to jowl
and bone to bone beside my wife’s cold feet,
ready to remain immobile for all eternity.

Being dead is not so bad, when you’re not alone.

 

 

MILTON P. EHRLICH, Ph.D is an 87-year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War who has published numerous poems in periodicals such as Descant, Ottawa Arts Review, Wisconsin Review, Allegro Poetry Magazine, Toronto Quarterly Review, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, and The New York Times.)