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February 15, 2017 | Poetry

Four Poems

Laura Jean Moore

Four Poems photo

hymn for the bloomingdales restocker who whistled through his chipped tooth

we worked the closing shift and weekends
at the bloomingdales soho that holiday season
me, fingering bras and panties for women in dressing rooms:
“come in!” they would say before asking: “do i look beautiful?”

you had that carefree Bronx boy smile, a living wish
to be seen—

i remember how you leaned at my register and asked
“what’s good?” with conspiratorial eyes. “it’s a mess,”
i would say, as usual, and you’d trail to the back, whistling
through that tooth—or lack

my last week i told you how much i liked your
song, and we sat alone in a dressing room,
safe from the security cameras. i blushed
and peeked through the slats like a child
expecting to be caught.

 

nothing but air higher up

a florescent bulb makes
all joy belong to the past

now is emptiness

i want to try again, sleep
until i have a different feeling

snuggle time at night
name it something cute: sweetheart
hold it close and wake up angry

there are clouds on the mountains
the cold is coming

 

hope, the trickster

beneath fallen roofs in cowboy boots
i walk with snakes at my ankles

this: gentle in solitude, but then
growl and bluster

bones made of vinegar (maybe)
eggs cracked in a bowl by the cemetery
tears dried on a pillow

i can order a decade like a cheese
sandwich at a truck stop

would that sight were enough

 

how to be an acclaimed poet in America

write at least one poem about Orpheus
and something Jesus-y, but make it oblique

skewer Americana nostalgia with melancholy
or Latin, and mix a little high with your low, especially if your first line is borrowed
from Norton’s

but above all this: don’t write any poems
about poetry. it’s been done,
ad infinitum

 

image: Bryan Bowie


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