The Verge of Jordan

I.

Limping Towards Infinity

Before the sun and old age dawned,
I crashed, half asleep, into the dark-
obscured, jutting corner of a wall
and broke, or nearly broke, a toe.

The wall a jolt, though accidental,
into senescence, almost as sure
as the hormone blasts that startled breasts
and adolescence into excitement.

The brain knows finitude. The heart does not.
24,000 sunrises. How many
more? The wall a reminder of other
hard stops on the limping way to infinity.

II.

In Baghdad

After W. Somerset Maugham

Plump Death, on his day off,
wanders the Souk, straightens his bow tie,
stops in shock when he sees the Servant,
who shrieks in fright and flees through the maze
of market alleys to disappearance.

Master, Master! I’ve just seen Death.
Let me ride to Samarra, out of sight.

The Master, annoyed, finds Death at coffee,
one white-linened leg crossed neatly over
the other. Sorry, says Death. I didn’t
mean to stare at him, scare him
half
—he laughs—to death. He straightens
his tie again, takes a sip
of coffee. I was simply surprised
to see him here, because
—he opens
his appointment book—I’m scheduled
to meet him this evening. In Samarra.

III.

The Advantages of Dying Young

If the God worm has already bitten
into your meat and bone,
if you’ve already met the abstraction
that will spirit you off, think
of the advantages of discontinuing,
of leaving the party early.
Those who remain standing
with their wine glasses paused
to their lips as you wave good-bye
and shut the door behind you
won’t die, nor will you, even when you do.
You’ll just have left the room.
Not yours the mortifications of mindlessness,
the body’s bitter betrayals.
Not yours the long decrescendo into soundlessness.
No more tears for what is broken in this world.
Out of the party, into the holy night.
Share this
Continue Reading

Sheryl Loeffler

Sheryl Loeffler is a Canadian writer and musician. Her poetry has been published in Canada, the USA, the UK, Austria, and Japan. In April 2005, she moved to Malta, returning to Canada in May 2006. In May 2014, A Land in the Storytelling Sea, her book of poems, prose poems, and photographs born in and about Malta, was published by FARAXA Publishing, Rabat, Malta. In 2015, she was elected to membership in the League of Canadian Poets. She was resident at the colony for two months in 2017.

More Posts by this author…