October 15, 2008

there are only moments

cara ober, there are only moments, 2008

The Old Liberators
-- by Robert Hedin

Of all the people in the mornings at the mall,
it's the old liberators I like best,
those veterans of the Bulge, Anzio, or Monte Cassino
I see lost in Automotive or back in Home Repair,
bored among the paints and power tools.
Or the really old ones, the ones who are going fast,
who keep dozing off in the little orchards
of shade under the distant skylights.
All around, from one bright rack to another,
their wives stride big as generals,
their handbags bulging like ripe fruit.
They are almost all gone now,
and with them they are taking the flak
and fire storms, the names of the old bombing runs.
Each day a little more of their memory goes out,
darkens the way a house darkens,
its rooms quietly filling with evening,
until nothing but the wind lifts the lace curtains,
the wind bearing through the empty rooms
the rich far off scent of gardens
where just now, this morning,
light is falling on the wild philodendrons.

After Work
-- by John Maloney

They're heading home with their lights on, dust and wood glue,
yellow dome lights on their metallic long beds: 250s, 2500s,
as much overtime as you want, deadline, dotted line, dazed
through the last few hours, dried primer on their knuckles,
sawdust calf-high on their jeans, scraped boots, the rough
plumbing and electric in, way ahead of the game except for
the check, such a clutter of cans and iced-tea bottles, napkins,
coffee cups, paper plates on the front seat floor with cords
and saws, tired above the eyes, back of the beyond, thirsty.
There's a parade of them through the two-lane highways,
proudest on their way home, the first turn out of the jobsite,
the first song with the belt off, pure breath of being alone
for now, for now the insight of a full and answerable man.
No one can take away the contentment of the first few miles
and they know they can't describe it, the black and purple sky.

Stray Instrument
-- by Claire Fields

The secretary has announced
over the intercom that
there is a stray French horn
in the building
and will you please
keep your eyes open
for it.

As the teacher resumes her
lecture, I wonder if
the instrument has escaped
from its black case, tough
as avocado skin,
and has joined a secret band
of stray instrument outcasts:
the ridiculed tuba,
the skittish viola,
the brooding bassoon.

Perhaps, in the winter months,
when sleepy-eyed heaters clang so
loudly from deep below the school
that the teacher must
perhaps the clanging is really
the forgotten triangle,
calling the stray band
to attention, saying in his thin voice
"Beethoven’s Fifth, everyone,
on three."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home