Friday, October 02, 2009

When Berryman Died by Chella Courington


He left his shoes, scuffed loafers,
on the bridge. A cordovan pair
he could have shed
anywhere: at the university
beside his desk, under Tate’s coffee table,
at the foot of a lover’s bed.

Every night he thought, tomorrow.
Mornings, he remembered
his suit at the cleaners, his essay
on Marlowe, students waiting
outside his office. January 7
reasons ran dry.

He bathed and trimmed his beard,
putting on a new shirt.
In eight degrees he walked
to the bridge.

First Published: Touchstone (2007-2008), Ed. David Murphy


Rebekah said...

oh... this is a winter poem. It's so sad... what motivated it?

chella said...

thinking of john berryman's suicide. literally, he left his shoes at the side of the bridge before jumping in.
wonderful, haunted poet!

Michelle said...

Very beautiful... I love this.

Maggie May said...

this feels like such tender viewing of a life.