by Richard Brobst

Ultimately we must learn to accept
?our losses (as constellations eventually
?accept their passing one
from another) in blue china,
?tractor axles, hair brushes, time
?scabs and heals relatively
as memory is numbed (in absolute
?zero). Perhaps it is no more and no
? less than the miles between
the words you have spoken
?and the words left unspoken,
?never to be spoken.
Never to be spoken
?beyond stone and sod
?and shovels rusting in rusting sheds
and all that is not concerned
?with whispers and all
?that our hands have touched.
And when do the voices begin to begin
?(as a black hole that might draw
?one in to see where one has been)
from dark rooms with clock-less corners?
?And when do they begin to end
?while candles flicker the absence

of breath, or the cold feels colder,
?or you shake awaiting a shawl
?as the sea dries in an old woman’s breast
and you know now actually and for the first
?time how small time is?
?The best we can hope
is nothing disturbs our death;
?that it comes as clean
?as a handful of ice.


Richard Brobst was co-founder and co-editor of the national poetry journal, ALBATROSS, from 1986-1998. He has had four collections of poetry published (ANABIOSIS PRESS and FORESTLAND PUBLICATIONS), along with many individual works in journals and anthologies, including THE SOUTHERN POETRY REVIEW, THE KENTUCKY REVIEW, PEMBROKE MAGAZINE, and FLORIDA IN VERSE; AN ANTHOLOGY.