Poem by Todd Swift for World Poetry Day

The Ailment

What got there, got there
Then it stayed.  Like glue
A doctor implied.  Like prayer
Argued another clad like a father
Black as grease.  It stung
And stuck inside.  A thorn

She cried; a hornet having died
The priest complained – unsin
Thy side!  It was presented
In a finding so I had to decide:
Pull out the fervid pin or wasp
Away to little else besides lather

On a shaved boy’s chin.  Its clasp
Was like wax on a ski or an LP’s skin.
It slid about, it grooved, it played
The length and lines of me, a musicness
Unto breath.  A tiny ceaseless death
The dentist opined then wanted cash.

It felt like wine-slosh in my brainpan.
All night I travelled in my bed, a train.
Each carriage disgorged an ailment
But this main thing only grew in size.
It happened finally to emit a claim
On my own name.  It wanted out

But as me.  I feigned indifference
To my external self, retained some
Dignity.  Soon though, unguents came
And took the resourceful fluid for a stroll.
It shook off the air and walked upright, so
Everyone who saw it nodded at my soul.

March 21, 2012

poem by Todd Swift


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