Ulysses and an Aroostook County Girls’ High School Basketball Team in a 1923 Yearbook Photo, Michael Derrick Hudson

Marilyn Higginson, Amphora #5, Raku, 12h x 5.5w x 3″ mouth diameter


Ulysses and an Aroostook County Girls’ High School
        Basketball Team in a 1923 Yearbook Photo

 

Maybe they’d be flattered by a visit, this spooky
exsanguinated squad of ex-nubiles

in baggy sailor-suit jumpers, marcelled and spit-

curled for the photographer, a boozy old pervert
from Bangor empurpled by his stiff

collar. Cmon, sweetie! Smile. Say cheese

I’d slit my wrists for the one far left, front row,
the brunette with the eyebrows

and knobby knees. Like Ulysses I’d slop blood
into one of Heaven’s potholes

so I could bring her back to life and dazzle her

with the hottest news from the dazzling
future. Smart phones. Clones. Drones. Oodles

of virtual money. Drink up! I’d urge whenever
conversation lags, bleeding out as much

as I dare. Let’s hold hands! I’d beg. Canoodle

with a ukulele in a canoe! Rattle off to the ocean
in a rumble seat! But she’d want only

to talk about great-grandkids and winters shared
with that jug-eared Canadian moustache

she married, the guy who clodhoppered potatoes

and tramped the woods shooting porcupines and
skinning bobcats for seventy-two years

before dying on the stoop, a briarwood clenched

in his toothless jaw. He’d be flickering
in the background with the other ghosts, bloodless

and mute, suffused with the maddening inscrutable

gravity of the dead. He always liked how I cooked
salmon, she’d recall, fading on me

but remembering to thank me for the drink…

 

___________________________
Michael Derrick Hudson

 

Review by Jared Pearce

We tend to romanticize the past, and this poem really works to romanticize it—showing that by doing so we really only discover that the past wants to stay the past and not get tangled up in our time and concerns. The dramatization of the situation is delightful, feels very Corso-ean to me. My only real concern is what Penelope would think? Then again, perhaps the eyebrowed girl is Penelope? I wouldn’t put it past Hudson to forge that link.

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