Alan S. Kleiman









In the end,

Nothing mattered but her smile

He remembered it in the shower

Or passing a staircase

Or by the garden

Where the rosebushes stood

As thorns and sticks Still

too early In this season.



He felt it

When he heard her voice

Or when he smelled perfume

On a passing subway or

Left in an elevator



In the end,

Its warmth left him thriving


Like toast hot and crisp

With butter melting

Nothing else to eat

Nothing more needed

Honey floating in the air.






In the middle of the day

Six teenage boys

Came to me

As in a dream

Whoa man

Said one

Whoa whoa man

Said another

Hey mister said a third


None knew my name or my game

Or the name of my cat or dog


Later at the cupboard

Getting a mug

For hot water and tea

I said to the receptionist

Show me your numbers

And she lay down

On the table

Lifted her skirt

And there on her right thigh



Almost to her knee

Was her federal tax ID, her cell phone number,

Her American Express account and curling up toward the outer thigh


Her visa and library card numbers,

Ending in her driver’s license number

As if it were the cross piece of a scrabble game


I never forget who I am she said to me.






The day before,

My mother rang me up

Singing Beethoven’s

Appassionata first movement

Like it was written for voice

Into the receiver.


I moved the phone farther from my ear

Not comfortable having someone sing into my ear

Especially something written for piano

Plus she was dead two years


I listened like a good son,

Like a musician, the violinist at heart

And felt the Beethoven waft across my body

Like warm rage.


What’s that sound my wife asked

From the other room

It’s your mudder-in-law

Breaking wind – I mean bread

From beyond the fringe of life


She thought I was a wise guy

Didn’t retort but ignored me,


And I hummed the passionata

With all my heart and soul

With every fiber of my guts

Like the day I was born till

The day I’ll die.










Alan S. Kleiman is the author of GRAND SLAM, a Collection of Poems published by Crisis Chronicles Press. His poetry has appeared in Blue Fifth Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Verse Wisconsin, The Criterion, and Festival Writer and in anthologies by Fine Line Press and Red Ochre Press.  His poems have been translated into Spanish, Russian, Polish, Norwegian, Danish and Ukrainian. Alan appeared at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as a featured poet in the performing arts series. He lives in New York City and works as an attorney when not writing poems.



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