Posts by markevanchimsky

The Flying Geese

By on Nov 25, 2021 in Poetry | Comments Off

  for Gertrude Williams According to folklore, “wild geese flying south always fly in the shape of the initial letter of the island to which they are going.” I thought these stitches would last forever, like her full-throated laugh that still echoes deep through my days, the heart’s proof of what is not forgotten. Etched fine as black scrimshaw, her fingers, that once snapped weevils dead in the hot Alabama sun, slipped thread through needle through scrap until the very end. Nothing was lost — the cast-off shirt became the wings of wild geese; the red curtains were cut to size, a...

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Silent Retreat

By on Dec 9, 2013 in Poetry | Comments Off

I am at the start of the line and the hush in the cafeteria is like the muffled dawn after a long night of snow. We enter into silence with all the awkwardness of travelers in a foreign country who know they have no other choice but to surrender to a language that is not their own. The most social among us try to catch someone’s fleeting glance or to meet smile with smile, while others avoid the eyes of those they have laughed with only yesterday, when speech was such a common thing it could be taken for granted, like the air or atoms. But in this other world of nontalk the slightest sound...

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Father in the Bread Aisle at the Newtown Safeway

By on Dec 8, 2013 in Poetry | 4 comments

The choice seemed consequential only a week ago — would I finally get it right? — remember that it was whole wheat instead of multi and what kind of fancy swirl? — but now I could pick the wrong one and it wouldn’t make any difference at all. Except I can’t for the life of me choose the loaf I should. Not now. So I stand in the bread aisle like a sentenced man deciding on my last meal, and trying to keep this decision as simple as it ought to be while the packages trick the eye with their redundancy, each tie twisted so tightly it would take forever to open them...

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Our New Given

By on Apr 29, 2013 in Poetry | 2 comments

  For Paul and Maxine It is the precise moment between the given and the unknowable— the slip of time that, like an island, juts into view, announcing its strangeness before we know what is to come. We sit, the four of us at a table in a crowded restaurant on a clear spring day and in the pause before the words tumble fast from my friend’s mouth, I feel a sudden pull toward an inevitability that must be someone else’s, and yet is not. The brief silence before words is when the true knowing occurs— amid the gleam of sunlight on silverware, the white of the starched tablecloth, a...

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By on Apr 26, 2013 in Poetry | 1 comment

Something shifts underfoot as the train jolts and slides in a long screech of wheels braking too late. You and I sit, presents on our laps, and stare at our watches, adding up how late we will be. A man across the aisle slams his paper down and sighs. Then the lights flicker out and the train hisses, a final breath escaping. We are still, stopped blank as a clock, in the middle of somewhere too dark to see. Outside, flashlights zigzag, throwing off light like lines being cast haphazardly into the black pools of night. In the glancing chaos we can make out hunched bodies,...

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