2 June 2007 | Vol. 7, No. 2

A Flock of Iagos Waiting in the Wings

On a bridge in Indianapolis

I'm getting covered with coils of snow

like George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) in It's

a Wonderful Life before he wishes he

was never born and then is swallowed

whole by an alternate universe

like a snake unhinges its jaw and admits

even the bones. So, sans George, the ursine

winter took his brother's life, the druggist

went to prison for dispensing rat poison

instead of aspirin and no kindly bank

offered affordable mortgages, so the town

was constricted (financially) then choked

out by cheap neon from the luminous

vices. Every time I watch the film my heart

feels like Lucifer in a tree, when I realize

how, just because George reneges on his wish,

this whole other Earth will be erased,

the decent man turned snake-oil salesman

will lose the brief venom of visual exultation

of a Live Girls sign, high on gin

when George is born again. I read this article

about some scientists who theorized

twenty ways the world might end,

and the last way was: Someone wakes up

and finds it has all been a dream. Yes, this trick

is cheap soap opera tripe, but who says

we live in an expensive universe? On NOVA

I saw the story of a man with a condition

called the Capgras delusion who believed

all his loved ones were carbon-copy imposters.

He wasn't frightened; he didn't think his parents

were reptiles in rubber suits or Iagos waiting

in the wings, rubbing their elderly hands;

they just weren't them. He even referred

to himself as the other David. I'm standing

on a bridge in Indianapolis watching the legless

moonlight, the legless snow, snake

through the wind, worried, the marriage might

carry off the ether that holds us down.

In the winter, this is a humorless city,

and behind me cars strike through the slush.

I'm not thinking of doing anything drastic;

I'm just watching the light from the nearby power

plant occasionally coil in a divot of water,

shine like a scale, and then disappear.

About the author:

Frank Montesonti's poetry has been published in Black Warrior Review, Poet Lore, AQR, Barrow Street, Spork, and Cream City Review, among other magazines

For further reading:

Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 7, No. 2, where "A Flock of Iagos Waiting in the Wings" ran on June 2, 2007. List other work with these same labels: poetry, editors' select.

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