Patty Seyburn

Aye! And what then?

I am taking applications for the Position of
Coleridge in My Life. The job is part-time
but the hours are quixotic. The candidate
should be a strong meanderer and terribly
good friend, with an ear for iambics.
Of course, this person should be a better
poet than I am but wear it lightly. I will
keep the amulet that guards against envy
in my left palm at all times. It is chalcedony,
the chameleon of mendacious minerals.
Own a walking stick, nothing too hoary.
Candidate must know someone from Porlock
and enjoy a good potluck. Loquacity
required, as is a penchant for great birds.
Appropriate anxiety concerning water-sports.
Pay is meager but the benefits are mostly
imaginary. Office in a measureless cavern.

My old friend

Andrew said he was raised in
the church but has since become
an ardent atheist and
it has served him fine. I said,
I am having trouble giving
up my childish, transactional
view of God. Though I like
the idea of immanence
I still ask for things and when
I don’t get them, get pissed off.
If forgiveness is the top rung
of the dream ladder to heaven,
I should not even fill out
the preliminary paperwork.
I don’t know exactly what
I did wrong but I am fully
confident that it was terrible
and that I can’t even make
a good top-10 list is the opposite
of exculpatory. Andrew says,
there is room under his umbrella
(he will not call it a tent)
but I have to stop glancing up
and assigning blame to the air.
What do I get in return?

Patty Seyburn has published five books of poems: Threshold Delivery (Finishing Line Press, 2019; Perfecta (What Books Press, 2014); Hilarity (New Issues Press, 2009), Mechanical Cluster (Ohio State University Press, 2002) and Diasporadic (Helicon Nine Editions, 1998). She is a professor at California State University, Long Beach.