John Drury, "In the Green Room"



     I hate getting to the spot, making talk
     in the Green Room, going on.
          —Robert Lowell, from an interview

I sat alone with him before the reading:
shy, awed by this big man who opened up
a black spring binder, probably the draft
of Day by Day, and marked and cut and scratched
with a red ball-point pen on typed-up sheets.
My teacher had appointed me to guard him,
just in case he had a mental breakdown
and tried to wander off.  But he kept writing,
or re-writing, on pages that looked bloody
with crossing out and cramped, inserted words.
I didn’t say a thing, but kept on watching.
So I was startled, sitting at a distance,
when suddenly he looked up, smiled, and said,
“That’s a nice, green, corduroy jacket.”


John Drury is the author of three full-length poetry collections (The Refugee Camp, Burning the Aspern Papers, and The Disappearing Town) and two books about poetry (Creating Poetry and The Poetry Dictionary). Recent poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Gettysburg Review, North American Review, Tampa Review and Measure. He teaches at the University of Cincinnati.