Summer 2008

Table of Contents - Vol. IV, No. 2


Poetry    Translations    Non-Fiction    Fiction    Essays   

Bernard Henrie


Hello Margaret, Almost Italian Now?

I wanted something sweet in my mouth
so I opened your gift of Balifico, thank you.
Harvested by hand, you said, collected in boxes
holding no more than 33 pounds. Macerating
in their skins for a further 8 days, vivid red
with a dark purple tinge, blackberry perhaps
and the boisée hints you look for in wine.

I have sold so much insurance I’m sure to be
number 1 in Duluth this year.

I took Helen Henderson to the Club, we sat
in those heavy chairs you never liked much.
Oakmoss, leather, and cedar. 7 hours later
she let me take down her silk straps, her color
not so faint as you, her small breasts perfect,
rigid and without taste.

I suppose you are still crazy for Nick, I suppose
you will never come back, never again be happy
with Minnesota winters that linger like old men
in rest homes.

Stopped by the Farm, no one wants the land.
You may remember the silver bell you nailed
above the barn door to call home the deaf cow.
A funny joke, wasn’t it? Still makes me smile.

I rang the bell for luck. A starling unsettled
itself in the rafters, dusk like a cotton bloom
brushed past my cheek. The neighbor’s Palomino
on a distant hill looked back, the rusted water tub
good as any “For Sale” sign and gravestone
for this forgotten old place.


Not Illegal in Mississippi

Writing a love letter is not illegal in Mississippi,
but I cannot stop watching as you lift your pen
with the library grown so quiet, green lamps
looking down, old books neat as sailors on ships
and the stillness on me like a cat.

The hunger grows to share your letter.
To be mentioned in one sun-filled paragraph
where you smile, yawn and lower your eyes
for someone not called by my name.

Then, you pause and touch your pen
against your tongue like the children
who shaped their brushes when painting
radium numbers on glowing watch faces.
They grew a cherry pit on their tongue
to never grow older and never sit writing
love letters in a Mississippi library.


© Bernard Henrie



Poetry    Translations    Non-Fiction    Fiction    Essays   

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