How Does a Poem Work?

i’m not sure

but it’s what you look for when your father dies
and you were expecting it for awhile,
because he had a full life, the pastor says,
like a pear, ripe with sun,
snaps from the branch
and falls to earth,
and no estranged child,
everyone came
and kissed his face
the week before
he passed away,
ain’t that a blessing, amen,
the church people say,
and yet

that emptiness in your
60 year old chest,
is so vast even
the night can’t fit in it,
and you don’t know how to say it,
so your hands go fumbling through
you old poetry anthology
from college, the one book
you didn’t throw away
through all the filtering of your life’s
moves, that poem you don’t remember
fully but always lingered, all your life,
in the background,
like the dark energy
that keeps everything visible
together, the scientists say
though they’re not 100% sure
if that is how the universe works
as i’m not sure, as i admitted
how a poem works

i know how death works

it takes

Published in  Gyroscope Review Winter 2018.
It is a wonderful collection of contemporary poems.
Download the whole pdf or get a kindle ebook or paperback.


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