John Martin

laughing through grad school
(academic stuff) (hints of life beyond
school and work)
(Flying Moose videos, photos, stories, etc.) (observations)
Waking without
This breakfast alone—Cheerios less
than yesterday. Orange juice almost
icy, lumping in my throat.
Even the toast is wrong.
My toothbrush looks at me, old
bristles bent, anxious grip. The toothpaste,
tube corrected from your middle squeezes,
feels doubtful, tastes gritty.
A dull discomfort shaves me—
no nicks or cuts, just a pull, a throbbed
ache behind skin and sigh, a tightness
once forgotten. Come back.
Cold water does not refresh,
cannot revive this pump,
this slow flesh discerning
more today than feels right.
These glass eyes staring me down
hold an edge I'm not fond of,
a hard hollow glint never noticed
when you held the mirror.
The comb does not straighten but rakes
the dead to my hand, static lonely
bodies floating to the floor.
I wonder that any survive.
Behind my clean calm face,
below my steady (fresh) breath,
the drumming rages—wild, wild, gnawing.
I face the day, smiling perfect.

-john martin 1998