Googling Your Name

Jeff Whitney

I learn you are also a rheumatologist
in Bethesda, a realtor in Orlando.
In 1902, you were a universalist and rained
pages of the Bhagavad-Gita from a glider.
You were a general and a saint—either way
lifting hands and when you did there was
silence. Baseball coach who died near third base
waving his runner home. It would be easier
if you were dead—skeleton with a gold tooth
in a bay-sunk galleon, field mouse picked at
first by vulture then by cricket then lonely
churn of time. If you were a ventriloquist’s doll.
Then we could say “he knows not what he does,” and then
we too could be forgiven. For Googling your name
instead of trying to do the work of dismantling
the mysterious machine that put you wherever
it is you are, so far from where you began,
in a place that looks for some reason like
home. It has flowers, anyway.

Jeff Whitney is the author of five chapbooks, two of which were co-written with Philip Schaefer. Recent poems can be found in 32 Poems, Adroit, Booth, Muzzle, Prairie Schooner, The Puritan, and Verse Daily. He lives in Portland.