FALL 2013 (Issue 80)

John Fenlon Hogan

Poem for the Man Who Wrecked My Mother's Heart

Not you, Father. Not your sweat pants cinched
            with a dress belt, your elasticity, your Rec Specs
or the way you cut meatballs into quarters

            so as to sauce the insides. Always a source
of her grief. But grieving never means it’s better
            to have not grieved. All the pot luck dinners,

all the times we muddied beyond muddy
            the mud-room. Poem Which Leaves the Pantry
Without Picking Up After Itself. Poem Born

            Into an Abundance of Safety. Mother,
I feel a need to tell you I’m on the tarmac bound
            for Orlando, for a conference at which

I’ll learn Modern Portfolio Theory is no longer
            sufficient, that it never was—that the man next to me
is going my way, the collar of his shirt starched

            stiff as the self-conceit he needs not to power down
his PDA for take-off. This is a man who knows about risk
            management I think, though I’m not worried,

and I watch him slip his wedding ring into his pocket.
            This is a man you walked away from in tears,
and I call him Father, also, surely as I am here, my hand

            in my own pocket, grasping the ineffable
lint of not knowing what the self truly holds.
            What I’m left with is a strong desire to make of

desire more experience, just like I once found
            myself apologizing to a girl because I loved her—the chore
of learning that the heart, also, is an organ,

that it beats on and on and does not ask of its audience
            what happened to bird song in the morning.