A DEAD MAN TEACHES THE LIVING

Lynn Hoggard                        

One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
 —Albert Camus

 A comment easy to imagine for someone
who has held a razor to his wrist.
What if, however, that someone falters, 
realizing his craven hunger for life? 

Meanwhile, Sisyphus keeps pushing
his uncompromising boulder until it careens  
down the mountain. Then he trudges behind.
Sameness and struggle without hope.

How could this dead man be happy?
One must imagine…Pause there. 
Imagine: Us, the living, walking down, 
chained to a lifelong, senseless cycle.

Can we, then, imagine joy springing 
from deep within muscle and sinew, 
thrusting out—fiercely, exultantly—
as blood binds itself to rock?


WHO WE ARE

We’re out of sequence.
Across from a pond—
the odd number
that should’ve been 
where the water is.
Friends and postmen get lost
trying to find us. We ourselves 
lose track of where we are.

We keep repainting our number
on the curb—111—as if repeating
the same one will wedge us
between 110 and 112.

So we look to the blue-gray pond,
rimmed by sunning turtles, where
perpetual ducks web zigzags,
and we say: That’s us. 
That’s who we are.


Lynn received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Southern California and taught at Midwestern State University, where she was professor of English and French and the coordinator of humanities. In 2003, the Texas Institute of Letters awarded her the Soeurette Diehl Fraser award for best translation. Her poem “Love in the Desert” has been nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize by Word Fountain, and her latest book, Bushwhacking Home (TCU Press, 2017), has won the 2018 Press Women of Texas award for best book of poetry. Her poem “In the Garden” has been nominated for the 2018 Sundress Best of the Net award.

For several years, she was an arts writer for the Times Record News in Wichita Falls and wrote more than six hundred articles, features, and reviews. She has published six books: three French translations, a biography, a memoir, and a poetry collection (Bushwhacking Home, TCU Press, 2017). Her poetry has appeared in 13th Moon, After Happy Hour Review, The Alembic, Atlanta Review, Bitterzoet Magazine, Bluestem, The Broken Plate, Chaffin Journal, Clackamas Literary Review, Concho River Review, Crack the Spine, The Delmarva Review, descant, Door is A Jar Magazine, Evening Street Review, Forge, Edison Literary Review, FRiGG, Gloom Cupboard, GNU Journal, The Healing Muse, Licking River Review, The MacGuffin, Mezzo Cammin, New Ohio Review, Pisgah Review, Sanskrit, Slab, Soundings East, Summerset Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Voices de la Luna, Tower Journal, Weber: The Contemporary West, Westview, WestWard Quarterly, Wild Violet, and Xavier Review, among others.