Some Ancestor of Mine by Edmund Berrigan

Edmund Berrigan is the author of Disarming Matter (Owl Press, 1999). His most recent book is Glad Stone Children (Farfalla 2008). Berrigan was raised in New York, and performs music regularly as I feel Tractor.


Some Ancestor of Mine
after Marina Tsvetaeva


Some ancestor of mine
            probably spilled ashes all over himself
clumsy sot, while protracting a curve
          against the abysmal specter of infinite life.
This ancestor of mine kept a flock
           of pigeons tucked between his legs.
While the sky wept acid he slept under the bride
             waiting for the day she would stand up inside him.
If he could only weep he thought, but he wept every day.
            He was a fuse; He wept locusts in a jar.
Cherry trees grew out of his collared boasts.
            That he was doubled was inevitable, but if
ever there was a bucket to the well some oaf
            would draw from its over agitation,
looking to spill blood from the air.
            That ancestor of mine spoke through a prism,
but couldn't tell his speech from the ankles it shattered.
            Failure was the only vindication for his kind of comfort,
starving its puppets with rain water.