Nostalgia in February

Jackets zipped against wind, we stand
close, cupping hands to catch the light.
I get it. My profundity problem.
I want everything to mean. To have worth
and weight. But it doesn’t. My desire
verges on dire. I try to remember patience.
I usually forget. With extravagant flair,
Sam fans the match and declares
all bad poetry is sincere.

It’s nothing new, of course. It’s Eliot
or Wilde, maybe. The trouble is,
I’m too sentimental. I had my first cigarette
last week. Now my body goes buoyant
on just a few sips, doomed
and irreverent. A little romantic. I buy Sappho
in the original Greek even though it flummoxes me.
I wear my mother’s wedding ring to bed
so I can sleep.


Oh, but I want to be greedy with beauty.
Or— No. That’s not quite it.
I want the past.
A garden hose draped
over the gate, backyard showers
after sun-spoiled days. Bonfires,
a poorly pitched tent in Joshua Tree. Strange,
isn’t it? How anything will turn dangerous
if you cling to it long enough.


The last bellow of day drains. Scallop-edged
and purplish, the cottonwood leaves
fatigue. It was Hesiod who deified pain,
now our -algia is named for the spirits of grief.
And yet, Nostos means tribulations be damned,
the hero gets home. Sometimes I stumble
on a day so blue it blinds. I find
a June within and I am everything
righteous and thrashing and right.


Read on . . .

We Spoke of Death and Other Poems” by Kelsey Hennegen


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