Download PDF Here 13th Anniversary
Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Two December 2022.
Seeking Home, poems by Alan Walowitz.
What could I possibly know of their manifold ways, the trees?–
how at last light of day each thrush and wren quietly rush
to a shaky branch, but of a sturdier limb, every knot and knee
close-in to the trunk, issues a solemn creak, as if an ancient heart, flush
from its own beating, tucked in the in-most ring, moves toward
every breathing thing and offers, gratis, just enough abode.
This is as it ought to be. How guileless we’re lured,
no matter when– to the place we belong. It might’ve rained, snowed,
the ice made this world wobble, as if every branch,
weighed down in its place, sometimes home to a bevy
of starlings, whose current calm belies their well-known need to stanch
the silence, itself–by their mere presence–made more dark and heavy.
Later the wind might up, and all will fly, as if fanned
toward waiting day. Despite our woes, like the trees, we stand.
When you get to be my age,
you don’t need to sleep,
my mother would tell me.
She knew a lot about baking and human nature
and, sleep, which she read about
and never got much of,
working and dreaming and riding the subway home
and making dinner when she arrived.
After, she’d fall asleep on the sofa
and get up in time for the 11 o’clock news,
taking special note of the weather
though she would never do anything about it–
I had high expectations of her.
Then, she’d make a blueberry buckle,
or think about cleaning the counters,
or comb through Good Housekeeping—
though keeping house was not a specialty
she especially took joy from
or did very often,
she would, herself, admit.
I once saw her nap on the bed
right in the middle of making it.
Should I wake her? I didn’t know–
so I let her sleep and went out to play.
Years later, she denied this ever happened.
By then I was smart enough to tell her
that, much like this poem,
I just made it up.
In a Box at the Curb
My baby shoes never bronzed,
nor put up for sale unused.
Just this portrait in muted gold,
I was told, though I have my doubts,
it might have had some worth
to distant kin, though by now I can’t find one.
Looks enough like me
to feel some bitterness in my bones,
the lines made so deep
by the artist’s skill and zeal.
Perhaps destined to remain apart,
but will remind any poker-through-the-ruins
who might have me appraised,
perhaps I was real. Real value? No.
Still, you might keep this version of me.
You’ll never know who I am,
but this is nearly who I was.
© Alan Walowitz
Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry, where his poetry is featured every month. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, comes from Osedax Press. The full-length, The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems— the title poem of which was featured in The New York Times in April, 2019– is available from Truth Serum Press. Most recently, from Arroyo Seco Press, is the chapbook In the Muddle of the Night, written with poet Betsy Mars.