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.