Issue 14

Poetry: Richard Krawiec

Things to do When you Lose a Child

smell the mold

remember his downy face

cry on the sidewalk

refuse to move

sit by the phone

unplug the phone

chug wine

stare out the window

call in sick

write a poem

throw it away

spit in the barrel

get stoned

walk on water

slice off foreskins

pluck out an eye

The Free World

My son keeps on rocking

in the free world with Neil

Young     he races past the couch

slams into the closet door

spins and runs across the living

room to dive onto the futon

he stands to display a series

of convulsive jerks     as if

electric currents attack

his limbs in random patterns

the uncontrolled     arrhythmic

spasms only a white     five-year-old

boy could conceive

his release is my salvation

last night he told me he never

wanted to sleep again     he barricaded

his room with light     the three-bulb

overhead     the carousel horse lamp

the beams of four flashlights     he is sick

of shadows     wants no more dreams

of monsters who lurk outside

his vision     unseen     undefined

as intangible as his mother’s illness

which he cannot touch or identify

and so finds impossible to banish

His brother toddles into the room     bouncing

his butt to the beat in the air

he yells     hey     thrusts his arms

high and falls hard onto the rug

he smiles and beckons with his hands

how many invitations do I need

I push aside the texts on incest

and depression     rise     shake my own

butt in the air     yell hey     slam

into the wall     race back and forth

across the room     grip and haul

both boys upward     pull them close

kiss their faces with fierce insistence

the shades are up     the lights on

anyone passing might look in

it matters that they see us

that they know

we whirl about the room

three as one     dancing     singing

rocking our own way

to a world we would like

once again

to be free

Pressing and Yearning

You stood on the stool
so you could reach down

cradle my face up to yours;
we slow-danced to Van Morrison

‘Have I told you lately

that I love you?’

You above, pressing down,
me yearning, always this
pressing and yearning.

Once I closed your eyes
circled you slowly, touched
gently with my tongue the places
you wouldn’t anticipate
I lifted you to the bed,
pressed into your yearning,
you tossed your hair

a storm of disarray
then kissed and laughed
your way down my body.
I stroked and glided
your arms, stomach, legs

after we tucked our feet
beneath the covers,
drank wine, pecked
tortellini, salad,
each others’ lips.

What is this we have,
where nothing is more loving
than anything else – a kiss,
a phone call, the flash of eyes
at the market, feather-slip
of hand on back

lips on neck?

They say the spirit yearns
to God, or the universe, longs
to join the cosmic symphony.

When we press and yearn
we are already there,
absorbing, dispersing, singing
What better home
could we possibly find?