Anthony Robinson

Man with Broom

The man’s got a long broom, and long, shaky, blue-veined arms—
if he can sweep away what’s kept you broken, step back,
make a hole, and let him work. His boots are shiny-black:
leather and old blood, arsenic and dust, laced up tight now,
braced solid against night terrors and each piece of despair,
no matter how juicy or firm it may seem, and sometimes
his broom is a sharp-tined fork picking at a salad
of mustard greens and coriander or a bulging beef kidney, just warm
enough and other times it’s a sturdy grimacing rake,
pulling errant leaves into great brown-red piles,
and if you dive to the center of the mound, you might find
a Honus Wagner and a tattered Mickey Mouse, oven mitts,
doll clothes, and there, alongside: the glowing pieces
of your childhood: they still hurt, but if you trust the gardener,
the librarian of fear, this too will abate, will grow dim,
like sex and consciousness, drunken singing, favorite films,
Corvettes and dive bars, Canadian geese flying high
above Alton Baker Park, the heron
who has become blue and unattached, who fishes
at the edge of the deepest river while you run by and remember
making love to a man you just now met in a huge field
of white, substanceless white, and the brain, ridged
and grey, square footage increasing with the number
of folds, forgets to paint in the details—there was his smell
like turpentine and his sex inside you, his fingers like a doubled-over starfish,
cigarette smoke and a spiky-haired cartoon sun falling down
past the cyan mountains, and it’s like the time you were five
and on fire and something was wrong, your hand was cut?
but you only remember the blood—so much of it—and the man
with the broom who pulls out his hanky, wraps it around your thumb.

Anthony Robinson teaches writing at the University of Oregon, and is a poetry editor with the Northwest Review, and the new journal The Canary. Recent work appears in: Xconnect: Writers of the Information Age, Chase Park, Spinning Jenny, parlorgames, Salt River Review, Snow Monkey, Fourteen Hills and other journals.

Anthony Robinson can be contacted at [email protected]