Nebraska Center for Writers

THE SPANISH TITLES OF MICHAEL DUFFY
by RF McEwen

He couldn't seem to nail his language down.
The title squirmed the way an octopus
unwinds; when most he felt completely free
he found that he'd been duped and bound again,
and couldn't breathe. And yet he had to grind
it out. This language was the language of
the greatest joy he'd ever felt, and more,
the greatest pain; it spoke the most of what
he felt to be the case. And even though
the case was something else, it was the case
that had to be his poem. It was as if
a jewel-headed snake had cast its eye
upon the text he wrote, and with the swift,
exotic mischief of its moistened tongue
endeavored to entice him into love.

Reprinted with permission
from Whole Notes
Copyright © 1996
by RF McEwen


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