Two Poems

Bill Manhire

Across Brooklyn

This is the street where they still make coffins:
the little workshops, side by side.
I pass them with my daughter on our walk to the river.

Are we seeking the bridge itself,
or the famous, much-reported view?

A few planks and nails lie around,
and each of the entrances seems to darken.
Far back, out of sight, someone is whistling.

Yes, I suppose we do walk a little faster.
There is a faint noise of hammering, too.

Kevin

I don’t know where the dead go, Kevin.
The one far place I know
is inside the heavy radio. If I listen late at night,
there’s that dark, celestial glow,
heaviness of the cave, the hive.

Music. Someone warms his hands at the fire,
breaking off the arms of chairs,
breaking the brute bodies of beds, burning his comfort
surely to keep alive. Soon he can hardly see,
and so, quietly, he listens: then someone lifts him
and it’s some terrible breakfast show.

There are mothers and fathers, Kevin, whom we barely know.
They lift us. Eventually we all shall go
into the dark furniture of the radio.