By the third day, he is my grinning Familiar,
standing by my side, rubbing at my leg,
my bathroom companion at 3 AM, burbling
reminders that if I've gone insane, at least
I lack the soul of Berryman or Lowell,
neither as gifted, nor as wholly mad.
He gently nibbles on my ankle, but big as he is,
his teeth do not break skin, nor is there any malice.
He is as Churchill named him: my tutelary spirit,
my personal Melancholia, my anatomist of dismay.
If his teeth are like the needle's sting
they are not angry, just persistent.
I am just a common-garden nut-job drunk,
smoking in the bathroom, exhaust fan on,
making the next day's hangover as I make piss,
perfect aim in the dark, imagining a waterfall
glowing down into the Amazon, far away,
far enough away so even I'm not here.
Kenneth Wolman (USA)