Andrew Burke

(1944 - / Melbourne / Australia)

Esse Est Percipi - Poem by Andrew Burke

for Denis Cherry

I lie on the surgery table
staring up at the hanging
anatomical drawings of the forestry
around the skeletal frames
of man and woman, and trace
the muscle that pulls at
my leg from my lower back.
Now I know why I'm in pain.
Upfront I joke with my friend,
my doctor. He sees my eyebrows,
my laughing eyes, the leaping fish
in my mouth. 'You see,' he says,
meaning I understand, then
loses me in medico lingo. I
wander, see him in two plays
on the same stage. To him
I am also a double bill: he sees
under my waves to my currents
and caves. Lap lap goes my blood,
following itself in blind obedience
like a bloodworm from river's edge.
Does he sense my fear? I see
he is curious, like a mechanic
with an out-of-tune engine.
'Your timing's wrong,' he could say
and it would be no surprise; I am
driven by analogies, abstract ideas.
I back away until I back into
somebody coming the other way,
a boy who couldn't cry at fourteen
and blamed his father for dying.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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