Geoff Anderson – three poems

Cycling

Gone two days, but the skunk
stench sticks to the curb,
splashes of bronze

where road, animal,
and darkness fused
in a driver’s headlamps.

When an odor holds
faster than gravestones,
not even a cross makes the dead

more present, wisped into the vents
of bicycle helmets, the cracked
windows of alley traffic.

It takes a block to remove
the film of memory from each breath;
what was inhaled

already a part of the blood
used to fuel the lungs again
to pump the heart once more.


Policy

When an employee asks about bereavement,
removing the splintered wedge from the door
and sitting before the computer stands by,

the radio puts down its saxophone for the news
a family member has died.
She is hoping to travel back

a few days to settle the house and service.
When an employee asks about bereavement,
the foreigner with a familiar face,

the mind trickles down cobble stones
since paved over—to a church;
casket handles gnawing

grooves into a younger palm
that surrenders the shuttered shell
to the arms of a hearse—

before a return to the question.
When an employee asks about bereavement,
the first response is a breath of memory,

inhaled and quiet like a candle
spent after the shudder of a furnace
within a waking house.

Then a manual is grabbed from a top shelf
and a distant page is found, already
sanitized and prepared to be shared.


To and From

The boarding pass
in your small hand

bears our last name,

wrinkled and worn
above the emblem of an airline
and the couplet,

To and From.
These two words
pull and part

the way an airport can fill
or empty the back seat of a car.
Those six letters let you fly

alone, the first time. To your left,
an aisle filled in Queens
files away in Texas.

It will take only twenty steps
to reach the door,
1,500 miles away

from the hand
that pulled your suitcase,
the arms that held you

and released,
the checkpoint, and
the tremble of a wave.


Geoff Anderson has an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language. He helps foreigners say “beach” without offending people in Columbus, Ohio. His work has most recently appeared in Modern Haiku and Rust + Moth.

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2 thoughts on “Geoff Anderson – three poems

  1. Mike Bartholomew-Biggs November 16, 2015 / 10:25 am

    ‘Policy’ is especially evocative – I shall come back to it!

    Liked by 1 person

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