This Place and its Internal Song
— a poem by Jeremy Voigt

This place hypnotizes itself each evening
with the making of color—the pink beginning

to grey seems to cup behind all we can see
as a huge hand around a cooling mug of tea. 

Here is something to huddle against.
This must be similar to Keats’ angst,

bedridden and dying in Italy, shaking
bitter lips in those last letters. I love reading

the poems, but the angry, dying voice brotherly
and haunts me. I want to make a grand display,

an “awkward bow,” but feel foolish on my porch. 
It is October, and I’ve turned thirty. Do I adore

Keats’ death-rattle because I’ve lived longer
than he lived, lost in his chambers. My mother

is still drinking even though I’ve sent my letter
with no poem or philosophy, just asking stop. Let her

heed: “we are limited only by our vocabulary;
this gives us universes.” My newest strategy:

attempt such optimism. But the universe is sad,
Stevens wrong, the people are ugly and the world sad.

For Keats, in lines these clouds must be the soul,
and in epistle just light at evening after another stroll. 

Everything does not conspire, but is mostly uniform
in the sacred order of sadness. I’ve seen that pine conform

and fill with light as the teenage boy below pitches
a rock at the squirrel on the trunk. My fingers stitch

a failing screen for my son to hide from deliberate meanness.
No lie comforts, and I can’t make all unfelt, unheard, unseen.

Mother called me ungrateful and liar and cruel.
I’m shucking off the manipulated letter. The artful

crafting, the mother writing my grandfather is dying,
my father wants to meet, everything will be ok, sighing,

even the sky knows your name. My sweet creature,
I’ll call the unit in California where you went to recover

and instead slept in a hotel. The necessary world of pains
and troubles in deadly sweat, murmurs its complaints.

May you also be attended to by a devoted bedside friend,
(those clouds look like rain) sketching your reclined head.

Were we born for this end? The awkward evening sky gives
itself color bowing into a drink of grey where everything lives.

The Poet: Jeremy Voigt has a MFA from Bennington College. His work has appeared in PostRoad, Beloit Poetry Journal, Willow Springs, Washington Square, REED Magazine,Talking River Review, Pontoon 10, Poet Lore, and RHINO. His chapbook Neither Rising nor Falling was published by Finishing Line Press fall 2009. He has been featured on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac.

The Artist: Chrystal Berche is a photographer, artist and Writer living in North Central Iowa.