by Adam Palumbo

"The poem is always married to someone.” —RenĂ© Char

I've been out of my mind twice in my life.

Sicilian uncles have no concept of this,

they are too strong in their weakmindedness.

The first time it happened I ignored it,

told myself to relish the brief, queasy

happiness, to hang on to the last now.

But happiness comes as a snapshot,

not in a quantifiable fashion

not mechanically, but as a vision,

something rich and strange. It is

turbid like a skittish hurricane

off the coast, biting its fingernails. 

They say perfect love drives out fear,

but where can I find perfect love? I thought

we found it in that tangy magic realism

in Maryland. Your meek mien spoke to me

O so singly and I drove you home

after we traced the outline of the soul.

I only wanted one thing—to be happy.

But wanting that, I have wanted everything.

The heart is two-toned and like a child

you would not speak a single word to me.

And turbidity's gales fell upon gray shores,

churning happiness and washing it away.