A Slow Fuse

A
Some seventy years later
your father, sitting at your table
over wine he savors, last rays mellow-
ing in it, recalls his favorite aunt,
Rifka.
“Just naming her shoots
rifles off again inside the morning
square, rifles she aimed into the air
for certain customers, the pigeons
erupting.”
Handsome, clever,
but with little actual schooling,
she, a Jewess, kept a shop in Moscow,
stocking horse- and battle-gear,
bustling all day long.
Powders,
braided with his laboring breath,
still prickle inside his nostrils;
like the wayward flickers cast
by lazily swimming,
naked limbs,
leathers polished, buckles, gleam;
and the oats banked in their bins,
heavy August winds drowsed in them,
at one glance, a single sniffing,
bloom;
the harnesses and bells,
by gaslight starred, send out appeals,
while sleighs collect for midnight
junkets.
He smitten with it all,
like those officers of the Czar
who, admiring her wit, her seasoned
gaiety, forever jammed the shop.

“Even the city’s metropolitan,
young despite his full, black robes,
took to dropping in on her, his jagged,
bushy beard awag with chat.
One balmy
summer evening, I remember, the three
of us, laughter brimming like wine
(he turned his glass to the lessened
light), relaxed in her snug flat.

The next morning at breakfast,
talk going on as if we’d never stop”—
he, a startled look lit on his face,
breaking in upon himself, exclaims,
the pigeons crackling through the air—
“My God, he spent the night with her!”

He, sipping the last drop, sits
back, as much as he’s amazed amused
to see this special virtue of old age,
the oats ripening only in slow time.
48
Rating:

Comment form:

*Max text - 500. Manual moderation.

Similar Poems:

The Lost World by Randall Jarrell
Randall Jarrell
I. Children's Arms

On my way home I pass a cameraman
On a platform on the bumper of a car
Inside which, rolling and plunging, a comedian
Is working; on one white lot I see a star
Stumble to her igloo through the howling gale
Of the wind machines. On Melrose a dinosaur
And pterodactyl, with their immense pale
Read Poem
0
61
Rating:

Madeleine in Church by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew
Here, in the darkness, where this plaster saint
Stands nearer than God stands to our distress,
And one small candle shines, but not so faint
As the far lights of everlastingness,
I’d rather kneel than over there, in open day
Where Christ is hanging, rather pray
To something more like my own clay,
Not too divine;
Read Poem
0
94
Rating:

Bald Eagle Count by Jack Collom
Jack Collom
(for the Barteks)
up at 7, dress & cook an egg
Read Poem
0
78
Rating:

Kaddish by Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
For Naomi Ginsberg, 1894—1956 I
Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village.
Read Poem
0
77
Rating:

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
‘Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent:Σίβυλλα τίθέλεις; respondebat illa:άποθανεîνθέλω.’ For Ezra Pound
il miglior fabbro. I. The Burial of the Dead
Read Poem
0
93
Rating:

from Each in a Place Apart by James McMichael
James McMichael
I know I’ll lose her.
One of us will decide. Linda will say she can’t
do this anymore or I’ll say I can’t. Confused
only about how long to stay, we’ll meet and close it up.
She won’t let me hold her. I won’t care that my
eyes still work, that I can lift myself past staring.
Nothing from her will reach me after that.
I’ll drive back to them, their low white T-shaped house
Read Poem
0
88
Rating:

The Third Hour of the Night by Frank Bidart
Frank Bidart
When the eye

When the edgeless screen receiving
light from the edgeless universe

When the eye first

When the edgeless screen facing
outward as if hypnotized by the edgeless universe

When the eye first saw that it

Hungry for more light
Read Poem
0
94
Rating:

Maximus, to Gloucester: Letter 2 by Charles Olson
Charles Olson
. . . . . tell you? ha! who
can tell another how
to manage the swimming?

he was right: people

don’t change. They only stand more
revealed. I,
likewise

1
Read Poem
0
67
Rating:

The Life of Lincoln West by Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Brooks
Ugliest little boy
that everyone ever saw.
That is what everyone said.

Even to his mother it was apparent—
when the blue-aproned nurse came into the
northeast end of the maternity ward
bearing his squeals and plump bottom
looped up in a scant receiving blanket,
Read Poem
0
141
Rating: