Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Yard Sale by George Bilgere

Yard Sale by George Bilgere

Someone is selling the Encyclopedia Britannica
in all its volumes,
which take up a whole card table.

It looks brand new, even though it must be sixty years old.
That's because it was only used a couple of times,
when the kids passed through fifth grade
and had to do reports on the Zambezi River
and Warren Harding.

Der Fuhrer was defunct.
The boys came home,
and everybody got the Encyclopedia Britannica,
which sat on the bookshelf
as they watched Gunsmoke
through a haze of Winstons.

Eventually
these people grew old
and were sent to a home
by the same children who once wrote
reports on Warren Harding.

And now the complete and unabridged
Encyclopedia Britannica,
bulging with important knowledge,
is sitting on a card table in a light rain.

"Yard Sale" by George Bilgere from Imperial. © University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014. Reprinted with permission.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Time Enough by Dennis O'Driscoll

Time Enough by Dennis O'Driscoll

The tally of years
added up so rapidly
it appeared I had
been short-changed,
tricked by sleight
of hand, fallen victim
to false bookkeeping.

Yet when I checked
my records, each
and every year had
been accounted for,
down to the last day,
and could be audited
against old diary entries
(client briefings,
dental check-ups,
parent-teacher meetings,
wedding anniversaries),
verified with credit
card statements
(multi-trip insurance,
antibiotics, concert bookings,
mobile top-ups).

And, although
nagging doubts
remained—an
inkling that I had
been ripped off
in some way,
given short shrift,
made to live at an
accelerated pace,
rushed through
my routines with
unseemly haste—
nothing could be proved,
no hard and fast
statistics adduced.

I had, it seems,
unknown to me,
been living my
life to the full.

"Time Enough" by Dennis O'Driscoll, from Dear Life. © Copper Canyon Press. Reprinted with permission