“Iceberg Effect,” read by Anthony Butts.
—for my bride, who must’ve known she was dying
Ninety percent of you had lain beneath waves
of consciousness in the ICU on the last day
I would see you, a sharp jerk of your body
in my direction when I told you
that we’re together in this: the Arctic feel
of seal flipper in place of the hand I took
in marriage just one week prior, the eerie isotope
of lost hope (of myth overridden by Faith: of Orpheus
and Eurydice in Christ in my own poetic
lines rewound forward through time—
which is not linear, the circles I sensed
you tracing for my resume paper in my sleep
before the foreboding ambulance ride to the hospital
and the goodbye notes I was not allowed
to see). As well as your funeral
as I was on suicide watch after our final
earthly encounter. It was not a “scout”
from outer space that entranced me
because you are not merely encased
in ice; I was almost like the Titanic
before you in the eyes of others
who cordoned us off and away from
each other. We were not the prizefighters
they had feared; we are the prize dangling,
together forever tethered to Heaven.
Anthony Butts has authored three books of poetry. His second book, Little Low Heaven (New Issues 2003) won the Poetry Society of America’s 2004 William Carlos Williams Award for best book of poetry. A native Michigander, he currently resides outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Artwork: “Iceberg” by Frederick Edwin Church, 1891 (Public Domain).