Stephen Morrow

The Final Exam

Today I’ll prepare for the final exam
which I assume will be mostly questions
about grains of wood and thread count.
Put me in, coach, I’ll say to the undertaker.
Outside on the porch one wasp says
The threat count is up again
referring to the magazines in the mailbox.
The field is so lovely, so we ignore the mines.
One man’s yellow is another’s elevated terror.
To know something is coming
and still to miss it. That explains this waspy life.
The mailbox is not a mouth, it’s an ear.
Like people, weapons just want to be employed.
Like wasps, people just want a little mud hut.
What? Maybe not. Maybe just some of us,
the ones who think blade of grass is misleading.
Ask the rabbit, ask the lawnmower receding.
Mostly green means go, says the poison ivy,
so let’s shake hands and become friends.
So sweet can nature be. See the sassafras
which wants to be a watermelon or a soft drink
in your hand in the caboose of early spring.
Ditto the apples though not the apple tree
whose bark is poisonous to our puppies.
Hence the phrase barking up the wrong tree
which should be barking up the right tree
with the most troublesome results. Tell me:
Is the nursery the darkest room in the house?
Let’s not forget the number of helicopters
far exceeds the number of helipads waiting
and yet so few of us want to be telescopes.
Not singing, singeing. Not universe, multiverse.
You are not alone anymore, but it’s worse.
An infinite sum of yous, all equally confused.

Stephen Morrow's poems can be found in The Laurel Review and online at The Kenyon Review, Big Lucks, and Hobart. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

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