The Forge from Issue 95
I remember watching my father stop
halfway up the driveway because my tricycle
was blocking the way to the garage,
and how he solved the problem
by picking up the tricycle by the handlebars
and smashing it through the windshield
of our brand new family station wagon,
his face red with scotch, his black tie
and jacket flapping with effort, the tricycle
making its way a little farther with each blow
into the roomy interior of the latest model
as the safety glass relented, the tricycle
and the windshield both praiseworthy
in their toughness, the struggle between them
somehow making perfect sense
in midday on our quiet suburban street,
the windshield the anvil, the trike the hammer,
the marriage the forge, and failure
glowing in the heat, beaten
and tempered, slowly taking shape.
As Requested from Issue 91/92
The city now doth like a garment wear
the beauty of the morning…
Three years now since I took the rough shards,
the broken handfuls of my aunt,
and threw them from Westminster Bridge.
With her usual grace she descended.
She spread in the currents and disappeared.
I was afraid someone would turn me in
for throwing her ashes into the Thames,
so close to the Houses of Parliament
and old poets sleeping in the Abbey.
But no one saw her enter the water,
taking her love of Keats and Shakespeare,
and miserably cold English winters,
and Wordsworth’s Upon Westminster Bridge,
into the dark river, out to the sea.
Chet from Issue 87
When my wife told me she was having an affair
I stormed out of the house
And lived for a week in my office,
Too hurt and bewildered to go back home,
Too cheap to pay for a hotel.
And on the seventh night
As I lay on the floor, drunk and passed out
Under my windbreaker, I heard Chet,
The old black janitor, opening the door
To empty my trash basket.
But I was in the middle of a strange dream
About being caught by an indignant woman
While peeing in the women’s bathroom
During an emergency in the public library,
So as the doorknob was turning
And I was about to be discovered
On the office floor in my underwear,
I shouted in my confusion,
Why don’t you go pee in the men’s room,
See what it’s like, and we’ll call it even—
And from the other side of the door
I heard Chet, a fine and courteous man
I have known for many years, say,
Ok, Professuh. Have yourself a good evening.
But how could I.