Hill top in fall

This poem is not for you.

It walks behind me and laughs,
says you must
have strength to be
gentle (and tho i feel like crying);
We take pride in being southpaws.

This poem doesn’t hear the hurt
in a message (maybe)
meant for me, sent
to the second of your ex-wives.

(This poem
thinks things
with an ex-
are so insubstantial
as to nonexist.
We disagree.)

It kisses me
on my merlot mouth,
doesn’t mention
the knife on the floor.

This poem knows its whiskeys
like truths: starkly & burning
in the back of the throat, finds
nothing light in either.
(Often there is strength
with no gentleness.)

It  takes the Bottom paths,
sticks to canal lines,
the water, the river,
railroad overhead rumbling,

thinks about boxcars, speaks
my wistful, bitter into where
no one can hear, knows
i too always take the riverpaths
up Hill (and, sadly,
will not follow you home).

30 thoughts on “shadowboxing

  1. As always, it deserves multiple reads to capture every elusive image and beautiful twists. So much to like: “things with ex- are so insubstantial,” “doesn’t mention the knife on the floor,” “knows its whiskeys like truth”

  2. ha. nice. i like how you have personified the poem…and kisses you but what about that knife on the ground…maybe i should not ask either…smiles…your poem sounds like a cool one to hang out with, just saying…would not mind walking the old water way again…maybe soon…smiles.

    • Thank you, Adriana. This piece was an amalgamation of discussion from critique group, workshop prompting, and my own personal angst. Glad it all fell into place. 🙂

  3. Such a beautiful piece. There’s a resolve and a self-conflict going on.. how hard it is to get over someone sometimes is like trying to float “uphill” like the poem says. Such wistful sentiments.

  4. It’s hard not to read all your poems as pieces of a larger work – it’s also a challenge not to read them autobiographically. This was more clear-eyed and stronger in tone than previous poems, but there is a niggling sadness there. You write confidently, and I wish I could get inside my feelings as well as youcan. I can dream, can’t I? Loved this very much, Mosk

    • O Mosk, most of the time i don’t even think i want to read my poems as a larger body of work– it might be just too depressing! Niggling sadness, yes, well. One of our regular critique group participants described my overall tone/voice as one that is a “wistful bitter.” Hence the line. Glad you liked this, despite! 🙂


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