‘Panic’ by U.S. Dhuga

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Side A: Introit

He stumbled through the door and smashed the frame
of the painting hanging to his left right
before he fell prostrate in the half-light
lit enough to let her know things were the same
but for the fact that this time it was his right
knee not his left that was left bruised in the fall.
Next week he stumbled through the door to call
an ambulance because he thought he was
having a heart-attack, but first he found
the time to kick to shards her flower vase
on the bookcase until the sound
awoke her: still he contrived to know the frame
of mind in which she was: “he weeps in shame;
the lies change; still he stays the same”.

Side B: Exeunt omnes

He stumbled through the door and smashed the frame
of the door with the one crutch he used to use
for his broken right leg because he left
the other crutch at the pub the name
of which he can’t recall for he’d choose
a different pub each night for he was deft
enough so as to leave no trail of credit-
card receipts which she might see. Fuck it:
the painting to the right side of the door
is in the dustbin, proof that he had more
from a bottle he hid behind the bookcase
just in case she might decide “No more”
and take one look at his lying face
and walk out of the door.

Liner Notes

U. S. Dhuga received his PhD in Classics at Columbia University (2006) and is presently a Classics professor at Calvin College. His mongraph Choral Identity and the Chorus of Elders in Greek Tragedy was released in 2011 through Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies (Lexington Books). Raised in North London, Dhuga lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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