Requiescat

Requiescat

Requiescat

Arts has moved! You can find new stories here.
A weekly poem, read by the author.
Oct. 17 2001 3:00 AM

Requiescat

In the movies they never grieve too long.
By the time the corpse is dragged away
its girlfriend is already in love with the detective,
and we are to understand
that with him she is having the real time of her life,
finding serial murderers.

Whit, I'm sorry I gave your Liberian pennies away,
acquired in those years you explained
God's snow to children in the desert.
They were lovely—little strings
of black metal, just stiff enough to stand up
and be counted as footlong, footloose pennies.
Strange things. Too strange.
Like you, they were not properly valued by me
and now I regret their departure from my life.

If it's not too improper,
I'll begin with your gaiety,
and grad school, when we were
a student couple, and you
were our bachelor, unattached.
It was not the dated courtliness
of your ways with women
that had me rolling my eyes,
as yet one more in a file of ladies
received your ornate praise;

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but the crazy slant of your bike wheel:
you, singing with mellow, perfect pitch,
wheeling in circles, happy
to slow down behind us—
us on our bikes, too, each with a baby
stashed in a basket hanging
from our handle bars—

your wives, babies,
and the shortened life
within God's serial kill
quite far ahead of you.

Lorrie Goldensohn publishes poetry and criticism in several periodicals. Her most recent book, Dismantling Glory, is a study of 20th-century war literature.