Victor Goines, “Joie de Vivre”
Please tell that story again, the one
whose grief fills our hearts with something
like joy, green neon letters
glowing in the glasses on each table.
The bartender frowns at two young women to listen,
their stories can wait till yours has ended.
Wind chill warning remains in effect….National Weather Service
We understand now.
We have stopped whatever we were doing:
our schools have closed, trains
ground to a stop, the river frozen over.
What more can we learn from a cold
that cramps our fingers, settles into the bones
of our houses, breaks up the pavement beneath our wheels?
John Donne, “To Mr. R. W.”
No, not that kind of letter—you are long gone
so it’s not about letting you go.
I’m just curious about this magic
that brought you back to life simply by reading
a few words from a friend. Every day
I check the mail for a letter like that
but so far only catalogs and bills.
“Bald eagles’ numbers soaring in Illinois,” Chicago Tribune
I don’t blame you for not following the script.
You don’t owe us anything, certainly not a spectacle
since grace is our concern, not yours--
yours is the ice that seals off open water where you can fish.
I hear it’s better in Kansas: a friend writes
of seeing eagles gather near a lake that’s still
unfrozen. Go visit her; she’ll send me a postcard.
Susanna Lang’s newest collection of poems, Tracing the Lines, was published in 2013 by the Brick Road Poetry Press. Her first collection, Even Now, was published in 2008 by The Backwaters Press, followed by a chapbook, Two by Two (Finishing Line Press, 2011). Her poems have appeared in journals including Little Star, New Letters, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, The Green Mountains Review, The Baltimore Review, Kalliope, and Jubilat. She lives in Chicago, where she teaches in the Chicago Public Schools.
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