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Adam Scheffler

Adam Scheffler is the author of A Dog’s Life (Jacar Press, 2016), winner of the Jacar Press Full-Length Poetry Book Contest. He is a professor in the Harvard College Writing program and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

By This Poet

1

Florence, Kentucky

So what if the old man
on the bus is trying and                              	
failing to remember his dead
mom’s face, as if the past were
not a cartoon tunnel scratched
on a wall?                            	 
 
He’s still trying,
and when did we forget our
cattle-shoes and feather-parkas,
how we carry with us a lowing
sadness, an extinguished memory
of flight?
 
Today I’m going to count all the                	
blackbirds between the prison
and the Walmart where, right
now, in its galloping sadness
a bald man who sounds like
a car horn is hector-lecturing
his infant-hushing                           	
girlfriend—as her unhappiness,
radiant as a cleat, sharp as an ice
skate, sprays to a sudden stop.
 
Right now, at the emergency
crisis center right next to the                       	
gun store, the nurse feels entombed
in hours like a fly in amber
as the waiting room TVs
spin despair’s golden honey—
 
and I think of the ice I waded out
on as a kid, of how often the world
seems like it’s going to shatter,
but then, miraculously,
mercilessly, does not.