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December 10, 2014 | Poetry

Two Poems

Britt Melewski

Two Poems photo

Ethical Quandaries  

            for S.K.

He brings it to me in a Safeway bag.  It isn’t dirty, but used.  He smiles.  He says, “I want you to have this; I think you need this.”  This is what he says.  It is light gray.  Perhaps it was once dark gray.  It isn’t dirty but it’s been used.  He brings me a travel neck pillow in a Safeway bag.  He hands it to me and says, “I want you to want to have this; I need you to want this.”  I take it from him.  I take it out of the bag, grip it like a steering wheel, steer it this way and that.  I say thank you.  He has been referred out.  We met on Wednesdays for ten weeks. I tried to balance things with prescriptions; I tried some more. This is a meeting outside of those ten weeks.  He’s done here, but he can’t be done here.  He comes bearing a gift.  Our time together is over.  He is a deer in the headlights.  His muscles are tight but he is calm somewhere in his slow voice.  He forgot to bring the gift last week, his final appointment.  For a moment there is something else that I want to say, but I don’t.  He turns to the door.  The bag has fallen to the floor.  The horseshoe shape is in my hands.  It gives.  It casts a shadow too different from itself.  Maybe there is a light bulb in my office that has blown out and needs to be replaced.  Maybe, outside, it’s snowing again.  I stand there and move my eye brows— and, in a few moments, to his back, I whisper goodbye.  

 

The Morning After Jeter

it isn’t such a good day
when you wake up
the morning after
and you’re a greater writer
than Joyce Carol Oates
and Denis Johnson combined
the begonias are dead
cats mew a bad Beatles song
what is the sun anyway
what is its mother’s name
this being two days removed
from the confrontation
of the hollow man landlord
stuffing him into a Pez dispenser
and swallowing him whole
like the world’s oldest pill
after being offered only leaks
and Masonite there is nothing
to turn back to similarly
during a broken February
when the bombs sounded
like rusted jingle bells
a staring contest you hold
your breath for until blackness
as when you dreamed
you held Derek Jeter
for two hours as he smiled
while meticulously signing
each and every stamp
in your vast stamp collection
the grotesquery of the heart
you want to tell him
while holding his hand you
my love are still a sun rising

image: Aaron Burch


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