You are tracking a veery
you realize you have always been
after the singing near the excellent sea
excruciating reflection of the sun
on the water & you staring
at an oblique tree after a trill—
The sea never mattered. Your friend
last night said the coast was the only
reason she could stand as she stood
under a tree smoking, & you looked
behind her at a grafted branch
braced & tied to a driftwood splint
as if it could heal
or maybe since it never will.
You aren’t listening,
Listening never mattered, only
standing under a broken limb
as she talked about some other boy.
Somehow you all manage to be friends
though she used to get blitzed
& kiss you. Never sober.
You love her. You love veeries. inchworms.
Why? The bird illuminating the tree
the bug folding & pressing until
if wind conditions, if travel plans,
the weather cooperating just right.
Then the veery bolts over the sound,
unimpressive to look at, sure,
but tugging long after you lose sight.
Joey Gould is a poet, produce clerk, & educator living in a town called Hopedale. He is a longstanding contributor to Mass Poetry & Mass Leap efforts, writing for Masspoetry.org, leading workshops for Student Day of Poetry events, & helping to coordinate every Massachusetts Poetry Festival since 2011. You'll probably bump into him if you're headed to a Mass Audubon sanctuary.
A conveyor belt delivers mutton and fowl.
Hot meringues suffer and collapse
under my ruthless fork.
His breath tripped over words stuck between his teeth
and tongue as sinewy shoulders curved.
The child stood, small, shivering in her tattered brown coat,
a dented, scuffed brown suitcase gripped in her hand.
mushrooms, beets, carrots, cabbage,
uncle’s ashen face.
Light drips on the handle of our cups.
Mine is dark blue, hand
Crafted by a lady I met
Once, in Kentucky. It’s filled
With Camomile tea. No sugar.
You sometimes wonder about
Pangea, the supercontinent
that existed 300 million years
I miss driving with you at
night, sometime past safe,
our lips still wet with
When he had finished writing, and crossing out
and standing and rewriting, and looking
out his window, and feeling the sun
I stood and watched you sleeping, had
stood there watching for nearly five minutes in
the shadow of the
hallway for nearly five minutes of circus
time before I dropped your purse on the chair, quiet as death
If I could, I’d use
my recently purchased cell phone
to call the pay phone outside
the community swimming pool
in Fairview Park, Normal, Illinois,
that summer when I was eleven,
and the country 200.
It was the night we were told we couldn’t pretend we were Catholic.
The priest turned only toward you and said, “It’s between you and God.”
And you cried.