Almost a Conjurer

Listen to Lucie Brock-Broido read this poem.

The sleight white poet would assume non-human forms, homely
Grampus fish, a wahoo, nut-hatch, nit.
                                             He had no romance except
Remorse, which he used like fuzzy algebra. By pouring bluing
On black porous coal, he crystallized, pronounced himself almost
A sorcerer. He had an empty cloakroom

                                             In the chest of him.
                                             All the lost wool scarves
Of all the world collected there & muffled him
                                             With wool.

He imagined he could move a broom if he so desired, just by wishing
It. If he spoke of ghosts, he thought he could make of art vast
                                             Tattersall & spreading wings.
When they found him in the nurse’s office,
He was awkward as a charlatan, slightly queasy
                                             In an emperor’s real clothes.

The Thermos in his lunchbox was perpetually broken and he lied.
The small world smelled of oil of peppermint, for a broken spell.
                                            Everything is plaid
                                            And sour in oblivion, as well.