The Knot of Self

We are leaking all over the place
To relieve the knot inside
Of the pressure of needing more space
Lest in captive heat it gets fried.

Call it soul. It goes out of its mind
(I think it must be) through the ears.
If I cover them both, I find
The self is all it hears.

There’s a sound like an endless flood
Of two hands not clapping,
Holding in that roar of blood,
Skull noise when the tongue’s not flapping.

My earmuffs cut off what’s next door
Of a neighbor cutting his lawn
While I cut mine, secure
In a rampage all my own.

This self of myself took me years
To build on what was around,
And it hates to plug its ears
For a swim with only my sound.

About Doug Cumming

Writer, W&L journalism professor emeritus
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