Today's poem is by Gregory Fraser


The morning you left, I pretended
not to notice, not to feel like the idiot shoveling
bread in my mouth, half-chewing
on my hands. At the kitchen window,
I listened to the grackle's transformational
grammar, the ladderback's Morse code,
believing their messages hadn't changed.
I studied the unmown lawn and envisioned
the first grass nibbled in Eden, then some
death napping in the cramped quarters
of jackknives and bullet chambers, or snoring
in a dormant pandemic. These distractions,
for a time, worked wonders. But soon
I remembered how you talked
of the bleached period of the moon, running
in hopeless circles, searching for a sentence
to end. You insisted I was mistaken
for keeping flowers, butterflies, and angels
out of poems. Can you blame them now,
you asked, for refusing invitations?
I doubt the angels hear us. If they do,
our parades must sound like canned laughter
on TV in another room. Our wars
must rage like Independence Day displays
in adjacent counties, our fierce debates
like the gargle of an open manhole.
That morning when you drove away,
I convinced myself you were headed out
on errands, despite the boxes of clothes and books
crammed in the trunk, the potted ficus
in the back. Then, late afternoon,
it struck me—the lushness of the plant
blocking your rear-view mirror.

Copyright © 2011 Gregory Fraser All rights reserved
from Birmingham Poetry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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