The Fool Poem: One

Sharon H. Nelson

"The Fool Poem: One" appeared in Seawreck, Fiddlehead, 1973.

The Fool Poem: One

The fool
hangs upside down outside my bedroom window
purifying himself with cold
and the rushing of blood.

The fool
whose idiot face mirrors
the Toltec symmetries, huge ancient Mexican
laughters, the wisdom of some wizened
bird on his way through the paths of the
jungle to lake-death or
the contours of Isaiah
yowling with pain and senility . . .
this fool watches me
cleaning my body with lotions and creams
moving stiffly back and forth before a mirror
painting my faces with fresh air and flowers
putting on the harness of everyday.

The fool neither blinks no flinches.
He is preoccupied with frost on the window
snow on rooftops
chimney smoke
the changing of the patterns of stars.
History cannot inflict itself on him.
The current of world events lies
beyond his fixated stare.

The fool
grows limp and skeletal.
He survives the seasons.
He grows lush with spring, bright with autumn.
It is winter.
He hangs listless, frozen to the bone.
Only the eyes move in the constant form.
After a time he begins to frighten me.
His survival is an insult to civilization.
After a time he tired me.
I grow bored with watchfulness,
restive, restless.
The window hangs between us like a mirror.
I open it and climb outside.

Sharon H. Nelson. 15 March 1999.