Anatomy of Melancholy
From lapidary inscriptions, from signs, from stones,
in the beginning, I try to rebuild you. The sky says,
“Take this boot-knife, consider it a gift from a friend.”
Was it then I noticed death can be a lesser misery?
“It may well be.” quips Robert Burton, author
of The Anatomy of Melancholy. So now, jerks and flaps
of misery have something to do with the butter dish.
“Just one of the early forms of mourning,” reports
a stoned RB. I ask an ant, a sleek rat, then bloody a git,
and bellow, “I’m back around six!” No answer.
When no one asks, ‘What’s for lunch?'” I wait
for the author (Bobby B) and the #66 bus
while flipping pages in The Anatomy of Melancholy.
From the sky falls St. Jerome still translating
the Psalms into Latin, into misery-halos
of I remember. I catch the buzz, chat-up
some glib flies and, when Robert B. gets lost
in The Anatomy of Melancholy, I shout, “Hey you there!”
Your stone answers. “Back around four!”–a sign,
a gift–“I’m home!” (Another melancholic rift in reality).
Four years ago, at your bedside, “It’s not
carved in stone”. Why were the answers all wrong!
Nothing echoes in chaos. Another little take-away
from The Anatomy of Melancholy. I tidy your hats,
don’t touch your used toothpick. From The Anatomy
of Melancholy, I intend to make something
like prayer. Hey, none of this misery is a gift,
an answer, or fit for the authors of the obit page.
Just ask the stone.
Author’s note: Sample Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy at Project Gutenberg.
Laurie Rosenblatt is the co-founder and co-editor of LEON Literary Review. She received an MFA from The Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Pecan Grove Press published her full-length poetry collection, In Case (2013). She has three chapbooks: Blue (Toledo University Press), Cloud 10 (NAGA Gallery Boston, MA), and A Trapdoor, A Rupture, Something with Kinks (Finishing Line Press). Individual poems have appeared in New Ohio Review, The Common, Salamander, Humana Obscura, Dalhousie Review, HUSK and others.