The Language of Love
“Without arts, the inner life would wither” –Mark Strand
Take three bus transfers anywhere.
Get off at the last possible spot.
Look around—you will be surrounded
by Chicago, but you won’t be lost.
Doubtless you will see Mark Strand
wandering State Street in an overcoat.
Maybe you see a thousand such poets,
falling from the sky like a Magritte painting.
Open your umbrella to protect your face
from their tears. Watch as their broken
legs and blood smears the sidewalk.
Step over their bodies.
Don’t steal their bowler hats.
Walk up to Strand and shake his hand.
Fan the inner flame of art—protect
your fragile and illuminated heart.
Caroline Johnson has two poetry chapbooks, Where the Street Ends and My Motherâs Artwork. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she won 1st place in the Chicago Tribuneâs Printers Row 2012 Poetry Contest and teaches English in the Chicago area. See her blog at http://jupiter-caroline.blogspot.com.