A Pair of Essays
Although awarded a degree
forty years ago, I owe my school
a pair of fifteen-page essays
due on my birthday tomorrow.
In one, on Keats’ “To Autumn,”
I argue that bones unearthed
by Lawrence in Arabia dance
certain sambas to spell out
the autograph of their killer.
The bones to which Keats refers
form the skeletal figure dozing
over the cider press. I’m not fooled.
Research for this paper took me
to an auto graveyard in Putney,
where the topic of autographs
stirred a thousand memories
of long New England autumns
with top down and radio blaring.
The other essay mentions dump trucks
loaded with rare earth ores, and men
so obsessed with certain women
they commit the most vicious crimes
to claim their attention. Unsure
of my subject or argument, research
requires me to commit a crime
of my own. I’ll throw my chainsaw
into the truck of my car and hope
opportunity arises. Snow
trickles from an insincere sky.
Pages of my essays tremble
as wood heat radiates in waves.
Another hour or two of research
and then I’ll finish and mail
the essays to defunct professors
who’ll be so happy to get them
they’ll laugh aloud in their graves.