Howard Winn / Poetry 5.2 / Fall, 2017









appear on my calendar
popping up sometimes
unexpectedly when a
reasonably healthy friend
suddenly snaps off
while participating in
ordinary life and then
there are the sad ones
gradually wasting away
in the midst of those
still enjoying the usual
life who try to accommodate
the one making the slow
exit but whatever the
speed of the journey out
there is always the
customary memorial service
often without the presence
of the vanished one’s corpus
long cremated into the jar
for the closet shelf or
the plot in some family
grave site where it
joins the earlier caskets
before space became an
issue or the green world
took over even for the dead
but nevertheless the mourning
is more or less the same
only the ceremonies change
but not the eulogies or the
reminiscences of happier times
when life was taken
for granted until it was not.


The cat steps through forget-me-nots
spreading from some central
point now unknown
that fight the grass of a lawn.
Blue petals, gnat wing size
color the grass in the path
he makes from yard to yard,
and if I speak he stops
to consider being kittenish
about my shoes and trouser cuffs.
He rubs and rolls belly-up,
a lover of earth and green,
which momentarily levels miniature
flowers and stems. They do not
stay, but rise again in his wake.
He reappears as Cat,
observing Pharaohs in the underbrush,
not watching me but waiting
for royal barge in purple and white.
It is good that forget-me-nots
are delicate and tough.


Howard Winn’s work has been published in such literary journals as Dalhousie Review, Galway Review, Descant.  Antigonish Review, Southern Humanities Review, Chaffin Review, Evansville Review, and Blueline. He has been nominated for a Pushcart prize three times. He is Professor of English at SUNY-Dutchess.


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