Lament for the Creature from the Black Lagoon
Amphibian-men don’t frighten me
unless they’re holding something— violins especially;
when I tried to play the violin Jane found in the attic,
the pegs held as tight as teeth
so I played out of tune
the only song I knew, that
of the body splintering itself.
And if you, Creature from the Black Lagoon,
emerged from whatever depths you’ve found,
covered in wrack but playing a fiddle perfectly,
I would be forced to nod at the miracle
of the skill. I would
need to reevaluate my life
because I have a secret.
Which is this: I feel
like I should be more important
than any sea creature,
though I know scientifically
that I am not. But I should be
more important than you,
with your horse eyes, your capon head
with its same dumb capon comb.
Tonight I am thankful
that you can only play the woman as an instrument,
and that there’s only the one
awful note again and again.
Creature, I cannot stand the sound of women crying
because I have spent too much time listening to it.
Appalachia houses hundreds of monsters
all living in seclusion,
chopping wood beside their cabins
I know; my father comes from there.
Author Discusses Poems