Today's poem is by Frank Gallimore

Game Night at the Deaf Club

Goodbyes flit from their hands as lights go
    from all but the one dead-set lantern that prolongs
the talk of those among Buicks, huddled beetles
in the diminishing, insect dream they slow
into; signs like wings pulling up under nylon shells,
    factory gloves of the work week,
    and night shifts still pinching. The wrist tells
the shapes of goodbye but one sign longs
    for the next. Avoiding the downward sweeping Why?
as new air and the old smell of beer wheedles,
    each still pulls on the weight of his car, the grit
of work boots that reek of pesticide, leak
and won't come off, no matter how they scrub it,
    hand back and forth like goodbye.

    What about the wallop of chance that night
when they played Wheel and Vanna White
    was the foreman in drag.
Go back again and watch and guess the miss-
    ing letters for a microwave. Swift laughter
makes deaf voices rock and moan
for the goofball host, a microphone
    like a hummingbird inside his ear.
Tomorrow's old jalopy comes crunching up the road
to haul them out with only a microwave and a kiss
    on the cheek from the Fates. And dragging after,
layoffs turn them blue beneath a double load.
    Meanwhile the woman who revolves the year
stays red as the rapture, red as the heart's wrung rag.

Go back to that hour and let the numbers turn
and wobble on a bobbin creel,
notches away from bankrupt. How things return.
    A woman's grin like a necklace
hangs on the night's dross, the pub light's long stare
caught on her hands, her fingertips' reckless
    crescents slicing out a word, aware
of doubt. They've done this before
and sometimes failed. There was more
    to it, or less, and all in the same tired eye
of the host, announcing each loss and win,
who'd rather be in his yard, watching a caterpillar begin
    its larval crawl, fumbling to a mower's pinwheel,
or blossoms, or clutch of thorns, turning like goodbye.

Copyright © 2009 Frank Gallimore All rights reserved
from Cimarron Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Support Verse Daily
Sponsor Verse Daily!

Home    Archives   Web Monthly Features    About Verse Daily   FAQs  Submit to Verse Daily   Publications Noted & Received  

Copyright © 2002-2009 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved