So Ahab

For the dying poets and Norman Dubie

The words I sometimes understand
sometimes only might

or only understand in the words’ passing
sharing a syntax disentangled
from the meaning of the day
and that
some inspiration charged
I am like the poet I hope

led to choose among my betters
and go live
being quiet
among them

us . . . ?

In other words, persist, but rather
a dense shadow fanned out.*

Perhaps we share the good notion
to go out as we were written
the vision-voice of rhythmic
ambiguity knapped

Ignore the do not and
good night in favor of
in favor of what?

Reel in the scenery.
It’s unlike us to reel in the difference.*

Ah Very likely
a setpiece gone off

else . . . ?

So, maybe it is that
we’re still

not exactly evil, but you get the point.*

* John Ashbery, handwritten, August 25, 2017: his last poem.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of eight books of poetry, his latest book, The Dun Book, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last fall. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.