Jaroslav A. Polák CC
Islanders hoard. Most things are hard to get,
and harder to get rid of. She had jars
of bolts and screws, a fisherman’s frayed net,
some unmarked solvents, guides to Hartford’s bars,
and unmailed postcards to Connecticut
professing joy at “living life anew,”
but spirits followed, found these walls a fit,
and when the rafters groaned, they joined in too.
Her trash became the talismans that forced
reluctant souls—though fleetingly—to rise.
She tried to salvage all those years she cursed,
but Percocet and whiskey numbed her spells
and left betrayers trapped within old hells
where they would howl at night with hoarded cries.
A.M. Juster's books include: Longing for Laura (Birch Brook Press, 2001); The Secret Language of Women (University of Evansville Press, 2003); The Satires of Horace (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008); Tibullus' Elegies (Oxford University Press, 2012); Saint Aldhelm's Riddles (University of Toronto Press 2015); Sleaze & Slander: Selected Humorous Verse 1995-2015 (Measure Press 2016) ; The Billy Collins Experience (Aldrich Press 2016) and The Elegies of Maximianus (University of Pennsylvania Press 2018); John Milton's The Book of Elegies (Paideia Institute Press 2019). Forthcoming will be Wonder and Wrath (Paul Dry Books, September 2020). He has won the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award three times, the Richard Wilbur Award, the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize and received other recognition, including two honorary degrees.
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