Poem of the Week | March 27, 2017

This week, we are pleased to present a new poem by Todd Osborne. Osborne holds an MFA in poetry from Oklahoma State University and currently lives and works in Hattiesburg, MS, where he is pursuing a PhD in poetry at the University of Southern Mississippi. His writing has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Collapsar, Arc Poetry Magazine, Hobart, and Shot Glass Journal.
Author’s note:

I wrote this poem after completing a longer poem that dramatized an episode of television, expanding and exploring the inner lives of the characters in a way that the hour-long format does not allow. I started to do the same thing for this poem, inspired by Ray McKinnon’s “Rectify,” and the poem kept shifting until the focus was less on the characters in the show and more about my experience watching these characters. It’s odd to feel so attached to people who are not there, whom I have not and cannot meet, and yet this is one of the amazing things about humanity—we empathize with imaginary creations, just as we graft emotions onto inanimate objects and see ourselves in nature in ways that nature does not intend.


Running with the Bull


The convicted murderer is comatose,
but that’s last season, backstory,


Previously On—there is family
to consider, his and mine, what it says


about me that I spend hours inside
his world, how these windows


his sister is waiting behind look
like the prison bars he knew for years;


the dream sequences feel like my dreams
or memories I had removed years ago:


it all comes back to some screen
and the ways I can live inside it;


after 45 minutes the convicted murderer
wakes, batting his eyelashes like


a French skunk or a mouse in a polka-dot
dress, a rabbit, a desperate man. I think


like this too much: metaphors no one
understands are gibberish, when


the credits roll I stay seated because
personhood is enticing but trees have


the right idea: face me toward
a window, let me practice losing


my leaves every autumn. Let me
never grow anew each spring


the green I believe must recur.