Sunday, October 19, 2008


Medallion - by Michael Heffernan

I'm going to go out and walk around a little,
because it's a nice day, in the seventies,
after a night where the temperature dropped just below freezing.
There isn't much here in the anteroom of the self, I don't think,
so why should I go on investigating what last night's dream meant,
or the subtleties of the numerology
of the soul as evidenced in cryptanalytical encodings in the poems
of Bertran de Monts├ęgur? I'm out of here,
and off on a little walk in the neighborhood,
but first I'd like to tell you I appreciate
your letting me share. It meant a lot to me.
Quite candidly, I'm not sure what to do
on days like this, or any day, really.
It all runs together, into a place the good
seem to have occupied as their own
and spruced up so nicely others of us who aren't
so good, but not the worst of citizens,
can't help but feel a little out of pocket,
as the saying goes, and I for one would like
to reach into my pocket and pull out
the ruby medallion my mother gave to me,
which fell out of my coat into the grate
by the front tire of the bus I'd waited for
across the street from the Shubert Theatre
in Detroit in 1959. I'd say,
to anyone around inclined to listen,
here is a little something you can have.
I hope you like it. Why don't you just keep it
and give it to another good person some day.
Tell them it used to be Bertran's, who came here once
on a horse all spangled with rubies and golden bells.

"Medallion" by Michael Heffernan from The Night Breeze Off the Ocean. © Eastern Washington University Press, 2005. Reprinted with permission.

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