Two Poems

Robert VanderMolen


I don’t believe she married him
Because he was in the fish business
Remarked Lois, which quieted
The ensemble some

From upstairs. An old Leonard Cohen tune

It was unfortunate the Attorney-General was involved,
If at a distance

Lois was the sister of the AG
Her husband puffy and long on anecdotes
The banker at a bank that defaulted

In the spacious woodlot behind the house
Fireflies began to glitter
Then flying squirrels, visiting birdfeeders

A government vehicle sidled under a linden

He should have joined the Coast Guard
As his mother had wished


On the art museum steps
A man in a wormy cardigan sprinkled salt.
A fresh gust out of the east made Remco flinch.
I haven’t eaten meat in 20 years, he confessed.
Opinions vary, I said. Wires criss-crossing above us
As we hesitated for traffic. How you like
Your condiments arranged,
Your salads, your fruit prepared – it’s in the particulars
One finds intuition, he maundered …

Dutch poets are called Dichters, which means
Thickeners – to thicken language and experience.
Interesting, don’t you think? He attempted a grin.
But his face reminded me of a puppet’s, a boxy chin
Leveraging up and down. In Old English
They were called Makers … When one considers
That all of his wives’ names started with J
(Remco’s that is), you knew he was a person
Of direction, though nuts in the long run …
There is also the thought, a more recent one, he concluded,
Of poets as pipefitters, connecting pipes into a maze …

His accent was barely visible – shadow-like,
Paint covered by another painting. He rewrapped his scarf.
Attempted to stretch his jaw. Pausing under our local high sky,
The translations are terrible, he stated,
But I’ll see what I can do. Synonyms, a little makeup …