by Graham McLennan


Amenability unbound
by dying oaks holding
a city built upon
the wrist bones of youth
aware of their timely
trial of aging
deterioration of cartilage
dulling of fingertips
arthritic dew scaling
window sills holding
back the preening sun
shone on all that is holy
before the day the city’s
all heated blankets
and weathered eyes


You awoke shaking like a leaf
I’ll hold you until you come around
and we’ll face another day together
Let’s draw up the kettle
steep some tea
wrap our hands around the ceramic
warmed especially for our tired bones
Let’s turn raindrops into swimming pools
Barbed wire into tight ropes to swing and twirl upon
Broken glass into lenses through which
the yard is our kitchen table
the sunset our fading fireplace
Let’s file away our cutlery and grass-stained appetites
while the stars are still ripe for the picking
Let’s fill the air with Chopin’s weightless tragedies
and Debussy’s moonlit reveries
until our ears are full
our hearts beating calm and still.


The clock in my kitchen is always questioning time
and I’m no better for it without my anger
and a place to store all the built up bitterness.

A place in which jars exist only to hold
what each one of us tries to put away
before rinsing out the coffee mug and scrubbing every last tooth
before picking up oars and striking channeled water once more.

Because if it weren’t for utter numbness
novacaine dripping from my pant leg onto the linoleum floor
the clock would be keeled over
arms bent due north so I’m one step farther
down this unlit hallway of nameless nothingness.

But the drip continues and maybe I’m better off for it
eating words of abandoned elation out of the palms
of fourteen solid half-hour friendships
saliva washing away dirt baked into creases
said to hold the brightest promises of our future.

And everyone else is the pick of the litter
cradled in soft arms off to a place without jars
and coffee mugs and teeth to be scrubbed
with tumbling footsteps around every rounded corner
laughter jumping from lips forming smiles warmer than the stove
surrounded by souls wanting to see and be seen under lights
put there to show the way tread not by one lonely rower
but many, hearts intertwined and all.

About the Author:


Graham McLennan is a graduate of UMass Amherst. He currently resides in the town of Westport, Massachusetts.