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John Surowiecki

John Surowiecki is the author of the poetry collections Martha Playing Wiffle Ball in Her Wedding Dress (Encircle Publications, 2017), finalist for the Connecticut Book Award; Flies (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012); Barney and Gienka (CW Books, 2010); The Hat City After Men Stopped Wearing Hats (Word Works, 2007); and Watching Cartoons Before Attending a Funeral (White Pine Press, 2003).

By This Poet

2

The Mower at the VA Hospital

I
Our mower is young and broad-shouldered:
so were we. Love confuses him as it once did us;
the pain he feels he believes to be genuine.
He even believes it to be pain.
The tiny pink man from Verdun has shit his bed,
the handless man scratches his face like a housecat,
the mower mows and our grief is where it was.

II
We remember some things, but nothing
so exact as form or color or disposition.
All day the wards are dark, while night wears
paper shoes and speaks in insect languages.
Its milky light is sticky and inescapable;
it seals us up. Death is also a mower,
but our mower doesn't know a thing about death.

Adventures in Long Island: The Helpless Detectives

The man who throws women off the Whitestone Bridge,
delighting in how they splatter like water balloons,
has memorized every word Milton ever wrote.
Later, he feeds blue jays oily black seeds
and drinks oily black coffee,
watching children twirl on their swings and
build castles in a sandbox
cats piss in.
 
We spend the day filling notebooks,
dusting for prints,
but no one really expects us to solve anything.
On the evening news we admit we’re of no help at all
and hope by saying so we offer some consolation.
We do wonder, though, what those parents think their
children smell like when they go off to school and who it was
brought death into the world and all our woe.