Prospero's Happiness                                                                                      —Jeffrey Skinner

I was a piece of music pinned to the horizon
No, I was me sitting in a wooden chair
All sorts of furious thoughts collapse
When you’re not looking
There was the wall
I punched three holes in to let what was left
Of the marriage escape
If you’re human there’s no escape
You have to be human
Leave me alone about the new sins
Every one of them is ancient and familiar
Still I feel useless and shamed
When it’s only the spell
Of the new poem holding me in its arms
And why am I not out there saving the world, etc.
That’s culture for you
But I can’t help it
Nothing beats a squealing newborn poem
In your arms, all wet and huge-eyed
I could have been a successful scat singer
On Neptune I think
For all they know about scat singing on Neptune
On this planet everybody knows
Everything about everything
Except how it began
And what’s the damn reason for it anyhow
Sometimes I think I’d be all right
Alone, but no I need people it’s proven by science
Nevertheless I took a picture
Of an island and
Enhanced my solitary presence there
With Photoshop
A trick I learned on YouTube
Of course when god
Does it you really are enhanced
The fruit trees laden
The coconuts filled with milk and white meat
And this is in fact the place
I have come to rest—
Prospero surveying his island
From a mesh hammock
Plush sky, stars and planets embossed
A garden, blue ocean, my wife
And daughters close enough to hear me sigh—
Child of god eating an orange in the sun


Jeffrey Skinner

Jeffrey Skinner's most recent collection, Chance Divine, won the Field Prize and was published by Oberlin Press in 2017. Other of his recent poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly Review, New England Review, and Plume. He's a recipient of a literature award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters.

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2018