A Handwritten Poem Found in “Good Poems for Hard Times”

by Stuart Gunter

Written on the back of an old grocery list.
Between Muriel Spark’s “The Goose”
and Kestenbaum’s Subaru.
Between being somewhere
and going places.

Now here: a poem within a poem,
like a rose petal
pressed in a Bible as a keepsake
for a future art project
using only found and discarded
natural materials:

My first animosity which has longevity,
(aside from that towards my mother-in-law)
has the depth of the land, California’s sinking,
and wider than the prairie sky’s east.
I am the one who abandoned a girlfriend
at a stranger’s house on a high holiday,
to secret myself into the pores
of a good looking man,
a ladder losing its steps.
I never needed love I only
wanted to be the other.

A tight, meticulous, scratch of hand.
The usual abandonment.
“A poem is never finished,” somebody
said. But isn’t this one? Finished
for me, up here in the future,
reading, rereading. Doesn’t this one
mark the place between
merely dying and deciding
to move forward.


Category: Poetry, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing