Richard Krawiec

 

 

(USA)

 

 

 
It’s Like

 

when my uncle first teased us

with hints of Alzheimer’s,

the frozen stare, lips moving

soundlessly searching for words

he could no longer retrieve.

 

The way he’d start to tell a joke,

glassy blue eyes agleam once

more until halfway through

he’d forget the set up,

the punch line a fleck

on the graying horizon.

 

It’s that kind of wordlessness

when you leave me.

 

 

 

Temporary Stay

 
Outside the inn’s window

the tube of the bird feeder

flanked by TV satellite dish

and camelia bush, pink petals

shucked to the ground.

 

Inside, precious

painting of a hummingbird

in mid-seek, never reaching

the mimosa. A mantel

timepiece that doesn’t stop.
 
I want to think

the clock ticking

speaks for someone else,

it’s not my house, after all,

just temporary, a stay,
 
like all stays, a passing

through what we never,

not really, own,

though we might

call it ‘ours’.
 
The forward click,

irony of diminishment;

the bird unable

to reach what it seeks;

gray mouth of the dish,

awaiting signals

from the ever-present,

unseen gaseous-sphere.

 
Does the bush regret

shaking off its blossoms?

Or the cardinals and blackbirds

tire of fighting for all

that passes

through them?

 

 

 

Changing Diapers

 

A mother stretches her child on cold bricks

between two lines of rails under gray skies

to change her diaper while some man snaps

a photo with his phone.  Behind them

black-jacketed policemen stand in a blur of No

to keep the others off the tracks.

 

At another border, a woman places her infant

on a scatter of prickly straw beneath a thin patch

of shade cast by one small tree in a landscape

of heat-white skies. Her back is turned away from

the dog, bloated by death, lying atop a scatter

of empty water bottles.

 

On a rain-damp crinkle of Fall leaves,

a mother takes her last diaper, washed

in a puddle, wrung out as best as two

hands can twist moisture from cloth.

Her baby’s skin, bomb-flare red,

is cratered with ulcers. She must

coo to choke her crying as she wraps,

gently as possible, her child’s inflamed skin

with this slap of dampness, necessary torture

to allow them to join the human train again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________

 

BIO

 

Richard Krawiec has published three books of poetry, most recently Women Who Loved me Despite, Second Edition (Sable Books). His most recent publication is the novel Vulnerables, published by Editions Tusitala in Paris. His poetry and prose appear in dozens of literary magazines, including New Orleans Review, Drunken Boat, Shenandoah, sou’wester, Dublin Review, Connotations, etc. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council(twice), and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize and  Best of the Net multiple times, and been on the short list for Best American Short Stories. He is founder of Jacar Press, a Community Active publishing company that publishes full-length collections, chapbooks, anthologies and an award-winning online magazine One: http://one.jacarpress.com/. He has worked extensively with people in homeless shelters, women’s shelters, prisons, literacy classes, and community sites, teaching writing.
 

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