by Robert T. Krantz
We are never
I watch you
sip air like wine,
your eyelids move,
love-drunk and alive
in lurid dreams.
as their pale leaves
curl brown and drop
like flakes of paint
to an asphalt floor.
Underneath, elm tendrils
clasped like children’s fingers,
waiting for dark gusts
to brush through
their leave-topped heads.
September, the rain is cold,
steady as grief.
When the names our parents gave us
spoke only to governments,
we changed them to symbols,
scratched in dirt between fifty-gallon
fires, under flaked girders.
The hum of cars and steel clanking trains
kept talk muffled enough to not hear
them spoken—and we forget
as the warm apple wine settles in.
I saw you direct Milton
at community college and guessed
someday you might stop by
a night or two, share
a few peach kisses, and watch
the sun being born again
over Lake Michigan.
Now, the overcast evening moves
ghost clouds lower, below
the din of iron tracks and sirens.
I am reminded: one December night,
a warm fog settled deep in the gorge,
spread gray fingers into the crags and crevices
like a lover into his love’s thoughts,
You cried and threw dirty
pennies over the paint-peeled railing—
heedless wishes for our wary children.
Robert T. Krantz is the author of four chapbooks of poetry, including mishigamaa and Gargoyle. His latest, Something to Cry About (Cathexis Northwest Press), was released in 2019. His individual works have been nominated for the Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prizes, and have been featured in Hamilton Arts and Letters, Grasslimb, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and others.