Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO A FRIEND I CAN'T FIND, by JAMES GALVIN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TO A FRIEND I CAN'T FIND, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What about this, after all
Last Line: The living started digging out
Subject(s): Absence; Colorado (state); Friendship; Separation; Isolation

What about this, after all.
How does it follow?
I rent a converted garage
With shower curtains on a pipe
To divide the room in two.
I have a photograph of you
Like a grave
That I look into.
When we still lived in Colorado,
Sometimes you were happy
Without meaning it.
My sister is still in love with you.
I live in the South. I do a job. It rains.
When I let myself down,
It's easy,
And no one's left out.
The old landlord is a real goner;
I think he crossed over
And forgot to die.
He smells like piss and comes to say good-bye
Each afternoon before his nap,
And again at night.
Death can be embarrassing
When it's less than fatal.
This morning when he came over
Asking for a shave,
A starling hung from the window screen,
Like a convict on the fence,
And looked in.
Its feathers were covered with ice.
I soaped the old man's jaw
And the chainlike creases in his neck,
And I cut him once, a little.
He was alive one more time and trying
For the hang of it.
I know he'll die without meaning it.
At dusk the starlings swarm in
Like rivers of starvation.
Their dry-axle noise
Flows past the open door and eddies
In a few trees. They mean something.
They follow. They set each other off
Like fire in a good wind.
Well enough
Is never left alone;
My sister still loves you.
And you must know this, too:
After the flood
The living started digging out.

Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org

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