“Thoughts While Reading Kierkegaard (The Cupboard, 1841)” by Katherine DeBlassie

His coat hangs, Regine,
like a cassock and hides his wooden leg.
The clock sounds; the sign of his father
he carries on his back—

He loved the cupboard. Wanted your
body inside it more than you did.
Acknowledge the things inside it (agony, pseudonyms . . .)
but have the opposite in mind.

He quakes underneath his umbrella,
pushing against the tic-toc, the daily
calendar, the other darker days.
The little hand goes up the body.

The big great big hand is paralyzed.
He is the earth, you give him a glance, a nod,
at Vespers on Easter Sunday,
and he is struck by losing you (by looking at you),

weighted by the gravity that pulls him to a higher order—
sun, moon, planets, palisander box with no shelves;
precursor to a casket. Vellum manuscript: one for him and
one for you. Let him turn you into something else—

Katherine DeBlassie’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming in B O D Y, Inch, Zone 3, Tidal Basin, Court Green, Boxcar Poetry Review, Verse Daily and Cutthroat among others. She earned her MFA from the University of Maryland. She received an honorable mention for the 2011 Rita Dove Poetry Prize, was a finalist for the 2009 Joy Harjo Poetry Prize and received Work-Study Scholarships for the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.


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