Lessons in Humility

Because I’m washed up, a fraction
of myself. So miniscule I’m sure

someone threw me a garden
party & snipped off the heads of

my guests—those droopy perennial
know-it-alls. The world’s so tired,

it melts down at the core. God,
build me another earth

& this time, really mean it: make me
a snow globe where little townspeople

freeze to death, then are reborn as
flakes shimmering down

from the top. A kind of routine
weather, but in the end, night always

wins: shadow one, object zero.
Not even close. Really

a slaughter, an action movie
blowing up everything but the star.

In the background, all the extras
bleed into one another.


Cover of TLR's "John le Carre" issue

Ben Purkert’s poems appear in AGNI, the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Fence, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Best New Poets 2012, and elsewhere. He is the founder of CityShelf, an initiative to support indie bookstores.

“Lessons in Humility” was originally published in John Le Carre (TLR, Winter 2015).