for Collins and Poe
I tell them about one poet
who was afraid his readers were torturers
and about another
who was afraid his readers weren’t letting the words torture them enough.
I ask them to consider metaphors –
a color slide
and a buzzing hive
a dark room
and a message in a bottle
a sidewalk –
but all they want to do
with eyes half closed and hands open.
So instead I ask them to create their own metaphor
to capture the feeling
of when things just
I regale them with the memory that once a year
the piano tuner would come to the house
and open mom’s Steinway.
I can’t remember his face
but I remember the arch of his back
and the way he bent inside the open lid
like a crocodile’s dentist
twisting and turning.
The oily odor of his tools
soaked the stuffy upholstery he carried them in
and would linger for hours after he’d gone.
I could stay and watch from the bottom stairs
until the sound of him tightening the bass strings
reached my fillings.
and metaphors –
for the complex jobs
of tuners and torturers.
So I ask them to create their own metaphor
for when things just
And that for me,
my hammer and forks
for when I need to bring
back into tune.
Born and raised in Westhampton Beach, Long Island, Corydon Doyle has been a writer all his life. In 2011 he self-published a book of poetry: Columnated Ruins, and in 2012 he collaborated with friend and illustrator Jeff Karl and self-published a children’s book Daydreams and Nightdreams, which earned a Gold Medal Moonbeam Award. He studied English Literature and Education at SUNY Fredonia and earned his Ph.D. in Literacy Studies from Hofstra University. Currently, he teaches English at Mount Sinai High School and lives with his wife, two sons, and dog Luna in Center Moriches.