Two Poems

August Kleinzahler


Well now, it really is you,
and after how many months?
I had ceased keeping track.
No, not given up, never that.
I should die if that were true.
But still – was it some affront?
You’ve never been this cruel.

Distracted? To be sure;
even you can’t begrudge me this:
a father, friend, another friend.
Death’s visits threatened never to end.
I know better than to implore,
complain, or like some schoolchild, wish.
Unvisited I do not live, I endure.

Portrait of My Mother in January

Mother dozes in her chair,
awakes a while and reads her book,
then dozes off again.
Wind makes a rush at the house
and, like a tide, recedes. The trees are sear.

Afternoons are the most difficult.
They seem to have no end,
no end and no one there.
Outside the trees do their witchy dance.
Mother grows smaller in her chair.