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What the Body Does to Us in Time, a poem by Norbert Krapf

What the Body Does to Us in Time
by Norbert Krapf

Where does all the pain come from?
Those knobs at the base of the thumbs
that pulse and make it hard to open
anything screwed tight. And those noises

the shoulder joints make when we lift
our arms? The dimming of our eyes
and the disappearance of moisture
in them that once lubricated vision?

Those rude noises that more easily
escape the apertures we’d rather
not name? And what about those
names that escape us so easily now?

I mean even of people we still know
we like. Oh and those appointments
we are obliged to keep, who wrote them
down in such illegible script on the wrong

days or not at all anywhere? And the sweet
flowers we have loved so long, why can’t
they be polite enough to whisper their
euphonious names in our wide-open ears?

And love, why do we so seldom understand
what the other is saying and become irritated
by the irascible and too-loud word What?
Why do our vowels still speak but consonants

drop out of range so quickly though we strain
to hear their sounds? Why must you have
your eyes and I my ears checked so often
as operatives we took for granted for so many

years but have so quickly and shockingly gone
goodbye? Why am I struggling to remember
what I’m trying to say? Who gave me the gift
of forgetting so much so easily as fast as this?

Norbert Krapf's latest collections are The Return of Sunshine (2018) and Indiana Hill Country Poems (2019). His adaptation of his Catholic Boy Blues collection (2015) into a play was performed in June in the Indy Eleven Theatre of Indy Fringe, and he is currently working on a new play, Andrew and the Bells of Lohr