The 2River View 25.1 (Fall 2020)

Susan Landgraf

The Cello

There’s a river in there
and a jumping frog that knows
the taste of wells. 

There’s an occasional
gator and coffin or two, one
of the coffins knowing
how deep the ground goes. 

There’s a boat that wants
a crossing.

There’s a cellist singing
the sap, old trees talking
down the hollows
until the clouds empty.

There’s a river in there
with rapids and pools
and a well-worn boat
that thinks it’s a fish.

I Don’t Remember the Last Time I Saw My Father

Maybe it was at my grandparents’ house
down the long driveway along the little creek
with the raccoons my grandfather kept in cages
by the barn. We asked grandma first thing as we stepped off
the bus: Is he here?
                                    Those days were blue-black
like the early bruises mother wore until they aged
to yellow. We were glazed from lack of a sound sleep,
our lives stitched between learning and recess at school
and home.
                        The word “crazy” was used to describe
the almost naked man screaming up and down the street
in town. His house was falling down. Our house had beds,
tables, a stone fireplace, and blinded windows
in the middle of a field. Our house was airtight.
We were, my mother, two sisters, and I fully clothed
except when we bathed. Even then we didn’t look
at our bodies as we soaped and rinsed.
                                                            In the few photos
I have of my father, I can see he was handsome.
Mostly I see him with his head bandaged like an upside-
down egg cup after he fired the bullet.

After I closed that book, I started a new one
with—if not a happy-ever-after ending—at least one bursting
with color and light—violet, chartreuse, orange, reds, golds—
and unblinded windows.

Susan Landgraf received an Academy of American Poets Laureate award in 2020. Her most recent collection is The Inspired Poet (Two Sylvias Press).

 << Mario Duarte  Cecil Morris >>
Copyright 2River. Please do not use or reproduce without permission.