Rob LeBer CC
I hear it in the whistle of the kettle
as an overtone or undertone
and before I know it
I’m saying it myself:
Push your fingers through the icy
crust of winter
and before you know it it’s over.
You get through
and then you are.
So I steel myself while
bending and when the time is right
I soften up and straighten.
I walk through
solids hollow and cross
a liquid dream.
I close my eyes in cities no one
wants to be in and open
in my comfort zone
where space grows phantom
grass beyond the reaches of trees.
Open towns are often
hard –unless you have a certain
color. I get through by
bending. I harden
when I’m bent and bending
gets me through.
I follow all the signs that
say, Say nothing:
A modicum of words might
suffice. Well maybe one
or two but only silence
has the wherewithal to save you.
A woman walks into the bar and says, Hey, Williams
but gets no response.
She buys a drink and does a good job not making
eye contact or looking embarrassed. Five minutes later
in walks a tall redhead dude and gives her a hug.
Turns out it’s her cousin. The bartender knows him.
Then the rest of us recognize him:
Williams. Not a regular but in the neighborhood.
His son drowned in the pond ten years ago.
We helped plant a small memorial grove behind his house.
What alkies we are to have forgotten.
Not that anyone’s embarrassed. We have a nice lunch
and a pleasant chat.
The cousin gets up to go and says she’ll come back
next week. Williams says he’s been looking at his son’s
old papers thinking about his own schooling:
calculus he spent so much time studying.
For years he used it at work;
why can’t he remember? Same reason we almost didn’t
recognize you, someone says. Williams says he
wants to relearn it the way he relearned smiling
after his son died.
It’s not like I need calculus to alleviate grief.
But it might remind me what life was like beforehand.
Gerald Yelle is a member of the Florence, Massachusetts Poets Society and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. His books include The Holyoke Diaries, FutureCycle Press, and Mark My Word and the New World Order, Pedestrian Press. He has an e-chapbook at Yavaneka Press: “Industries Built on Words.” and a chapbook forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.