Notes from the Trepidarium

by Lucie Brock-Broido

At the Museum of Modern Art, she had to quit the shadow box

Of Kafka’s ruin of a life; she couldn’t stand the gob

Of bug emerging green beneath the metal bed.

As a child, she would never open the closet door alone

Again to choose which dirndl skirt to wear to school.

A conference of seagulls would surely now be hooked

On every wire hanger mimicking the hooded crows amassed

In Hitchcock’s one-room-schoolhouse yard in 1962.

Now the Eskimos are frightened at the robins in their weirdly warming

Village because their language has no word for robin, not quite yet.

A cough (small as Keats’s before his brother even knew) set in.

Quit this crying out from fear in sleep; it isn’t merciful.

Stop making such a racket in your wooden shoes

As you go up and down the master stairs.

 

To read more poems by Lucie Brock-Broido, subscribe to the print edition of Parnassus, Volume 33.

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