I'm a retired teacher and school administrator and I've written poetry, seriously and less than seriously, since I was a teenager. It's only recently that I've taken seriously the idea of sharing my poems beyond these four walls—where they're met with great acclaim by my wife and sometimes by my daughter—and my poems have appeared in journals, e-zines, and anthologies. My chapbook, Exactly Like Love, will be published in 2016 by Osedax Press.
The Anatomy of Longing
When he looks inside, the doctor says, You’re fine,
save for a few loose parts even he can’t name.
That might be why I feel so hollowed out
when he tells me Breathe, and then, Again,
and I admit to myself, if not to him,
I know this feeling from before,
a time I was young and hollowed out for sure.
He says, Medicine has no name for this,
but we can call it Longing, if you like.
He knows I like when things have names,
but it takes too long till names come known.
What’s usually best is just move on, breathe on my own—
if not exactly free, then calm and hollowed out
the way it was, when I used to be.
Originally appeared on Melancholy-Hyperbole.com
To practice to remember,
we look at snapshots and ephemera
she had tossed in a box,
haphazard like a life.
Who’s that? I inquire
about a man in a hat.
I don’t remember, she says.
We should have written it down.
Then, on a map we try to navigate
the bus routes through Queens
and the neighborhoods we’d pass
on our way to the city
when she’d have me read
the car cards out loud:
Suppose you were old?
Who will be Miss Subways?
Bet you do better in a hat.
Here’s a letter from her father.
She listens, but slow as I go
it’s always, All these words
and everything is wrong.
Her eyes close
from the weight of a lifetime of wrongs,
then dozes on my shoulder.
Finally of some use,
I’ll keep in a box
the picture of us
that proves it.
Esther, Resting; Alan, Finally of Some Use (photo by Alma Daza)
©2016 Alan Walowitz