Keats in a Beach Chair
Ronald Metellus


If you were a Model United Nations conference
would I be a student that's
too eager to be there
too willing to miss class
or too contented in sitting?

John Keats,
seated on
a chair that creaks
once every --


Keats is kneeling
on his twenty fifth birthday.
His last.

What about Mock Trial?


A study showing
sitting for six to eight
hours daily
can shorten a woman's life.

Showing a chair
that creaks:
its sound dissipating
and the years
of your life --


My brother
in Long Island
on John's Beach
on Polaroid.

We are not
the black-and-white photographed youth
strewn across the sand,
before influenza
and bombs knew what to do with them.

We are very much alive.


A study showing
women to John Keats,
"Time's sea hath been five years at its slow ebb…
since I was tangled in thy beauty's web."

I would nurse
the tuberculosis out of you,
I'd certainly think about it.

I could take the honeyed mucus
from your lungs.


If you were a landlocked nation,
let's say you're Laos,
I'd let you have a river
for commercial fishing.

These are the kinds
of deals I'd make
in Model UN.

What about Mock Trail?

We are very much in a cross-examination.
We need his brother, Tom Keats
to adjudicate this one,
the tuberculosis erupting
in his lungs -- "The plaintiff," he's saying
but it registers as a murmur.


If I appear lopsided,
know that I'm
knocking the salt water
out of my ears.

If I appear seated,
know that my brother
is picking the boardwalk
out of my feet.