Mennonite Poetry Home | Robert Martens



October 26, 2009
who's perfect?

this poem isn't perfect.

i'm not quite perfect either. though
i've been called the apollo of
poetry city, no, i have a
scar on the forehead
where a windshield decided
to say hello.

my home isn't perfect either.
though it's been nominated as
vacuum & garden's urban dwelling
of the year, no,
a handful of dust
has settled in the kitchen corner.

my city isn't perfect either.
though the councillors are
compassionate advocates of propriety,
no, an old man
is sprawled in the rain
beneath a mentally broken blanket.

my country is nearly perfect, but
not quite. though the
prime minister makes a handsome photo
patting the heads of the poor,
well, the poor
proliferate beyond the adjusted bellcurve.

my earth, they say, was once perfect, but
it's slipped a bit. though
warfare is properly regulated, a
bad man's broken the rules, he's
an exception of course, but
a missile's on the way.

my universe isn't perfect. though
behind our backs the cosmos
is spinning as it should, someone
looked away, just for a moment,
daydreaming, and the spinning
wobbled. behind our backs. no,

this poem isn't perfect.
if it was ...
but this moment may be perfect.
yes, i think it was,
drenched with the sorrows
of extinct oceans, flaming
with the rapture of exploding
suns, carried away
by the storm in your lungs ...

in fact, every moment
may be perfect. but

only between the lines. this
poem isn't perfect.
if it was, i would
mar it somehow. and
so, if you're not too disappointed,
i bequeath it to you,
my unborn, my ghosts, my
beloved. add a
word or two, maybe
the wrong ones, and
pass it on, may we be
forever undone.

© Robert Martens




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