Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow
While you listed out my faults, I
listened in such complete agreement
that my mind felt free to wander—
first to the mirror’s unbroken tablet,
then out the window to the houses
on our block, their roofs like books
splaying open, facedown, half-read.
Your reasons for leaving, every one
sensible, inarguable, gently explained,
made it easy for me to look
through the portal of the moon
at the small blue planet on which
you would come and go like a rainbow.
Everyone likes a rainbow, and surely
I liked you. Perhaps your name was
Rainbow. Your comments might have
oppressed me, like a low ceiling
or a yard spread with droppings of geese,
but you let me down easy, with lots
of padding, as professional movers
will an antique cabinet. This made me less
inclined to fashion my own list
of my obvious flaws, or to brood
over further misfortunes.
It never occurred to me, for instance,
to worry that I had stopped
reading living poets, and lost
all my friends, or that another man
had decided to use the inside of my head,
with its glorious acoustics, to practice
his tortured arias. I have been meaning
to thank you for quite a while, and to mail off
an equally tender and perceptive ledger
of your particular shortcomings, but you
know how time flies in circles, riding
the thermals, then swoops in for the kill,
and how sluggishly it lifts ov after feeding,
its wings as heavy and awkward, Rainbow,
as one of Daedalus’s early designs.
Gregory Fraser is the author of two poetry collections, Strange Pietà (Texas Tech, 2003) and Answering the Ruins (Northwestern, 2009). He is also the coauthor, with Chad Davidson, of the workshop textbook Writing Poetry: Creative and Critical Approaches (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2008) and the composition textbook Analyze Anything: A Guide to Critical Reading and Writing (Continuum, forthcoming in 2012). His poetry has appeared in literary journals, including the Paris Review, Ploughshares, and the Southern Review. The recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fraser serves as associate professor of English and creative writing at the University of West Georgia.
“Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow” appears in our Spring 2011 issue.