Tuesday, December 2, 2014

ATTN: Anna M.

In honor of a birthday

On behalf of 500 professorial strangers,
I, Dr. E.P. Nudelman, am honored to present to you,
the admirable Anna M.H., a coveted award
for twenty four years of faithful, self-sacrificial,
and unintentional service to our cause.

The Golden Gelos Grant is given
annually, and/or whenever it’s remembered,
to an 8767-day-old aiding mankind
by helping hearts in rehab,
slicing diabetics’ sugar levels,
injuring atopic dermatitis,
mobilizing Gamma-interferon, T-cell, B-cells,
and salivary immunoglobulin A,
increasing bipeds’ tolerance for pain
while relieving both their pain and stress,
dislodging mucous plugs, plus

slashing sudden stroke and sneaking
workouts to couch potatoes, thereby keeping
an entire nation from the brink
of cardiac disaster.

Your brave badinage within bra barricades,
your levity in limbo,
your drollery despite disease
and love of larks in the darkness

brings light to the world, or at least
to the private detectives we hired
to investigate you, and to us.

We hoped to grant the grant to you sooner,
but couldn’t, given our strict guidelines, and the fact
that we lost the pink form used to change them.
But anyway, congratulations.
On behalf of the world-renowned International
Society of Humor Studies, please accept
this grant, comprised of 499 well-wishes
(Berta was out of the office today)
and two packets of potato crisps,
which, because it’s close to lunch,
have been emptied in the drafting of this letter.

Greetings, hear-hear, good day, etc.
Earnest Patrick Nudelman,
Chairman of the Bored

The Surgery

In honor of a marriage 

Adam named the animals
when the earth was a story still warm off the presses
and the sun was a matchstick standing in a sea of ink.
There was no name for the splinter in his heart.

God called it “being alone,” though He was there,
holding Adam’s hand. “Why don’t you rest?” He asked,
and the man, whose heart was bleeding
though he did not know what bleeding was,
lay down his unscarred body on the dewy ground.

The surgery of marriage—
the parts removed, the pieces reunited—
plays out again, again, in history and chapels,
the operating theaters that offer us onlookers a view
of the bloody work of God,
the rigor of a gentle hand,
the violence of the kind of love that saves a man
from the splinters of his self and sin by breaking bone.