POETRY: MAXINE KUMIN – AT THE END OF THE AFFAIR

At The End Of The Affair

That it should end in an Albert Pick hotel
with the air conditioner gasping like a carp
and the bathroom tap plucking its one-string harp
and the sourmash bond half gone in the open bottle,

that it should end in this stubborn disarray
of stockings and car keys and suitcases,
all the unfoldings that came forth yesterday
now crammed back to overflow their spaces,

considering the hairsbreadth accident of touch
the nightcap leads to-how it protracts
the burst of colors, the sweetgrass of two tongues,
then turns the lock in Hilton or in Sheraton,
in Marriott or Holiday Inn for such
a man and woman-bearing in mind these facts,

better to break glass, sop with towels, tear
snapshots up, pour whiskey down the drain
than reach and tangle in the same old snare
saying the little lies again.

 

This poem appeared in the 1973 anthology Contemporary Poetry in America , edited by Miller Williams.

If you dig Maxine Kumin, check out her newly released memoir The Pawnbroker’s Daughter.

 

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POETRY: DOMINIC MADERA – SOME MEN

Some Men

If we all cried, there would be no scorched earth.

No droughts on this plain,
The lemon tree in full bloom.
Somewhere on the chalkboard,
Men became deserts.
Rough, rugged, lonesome
Dove cowboys–
Basking in adobe wall shadows.
Sand snake skin.
Taking in the comfort
Of suppression. Silence.

The plants wither away.
Famine whips land like bootstraps
Rough walls fracture like cicada skin.

But some men cry.
Some men take comfort
In floodwaters, swollen
Rivers bring new life
To this landscape
Of dry eyes and cracked feet

Let rivers engulf eyes
Let thunder beat out of bone,
Crack open coral walls

Shed tears when the sun steals
Time, and the river abandons
Wet rock. Mourn for dead
Stars, remember what’s lost.

We can’t live in walls anymore.
If we all cried then the clouds
Would forgive us.


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