Snow and Crocuses & Ancient Horses

Snow and Crocuses

      Snow and Crocuses

      Thanksgiving ahead, and first snows, snows and crocuses,
Wordsworthian spring, implying daffodils.
But first there’ll be holidays and snow, a tree to stand and dress
and carry again through weather, just as I’ve done
on cue how many winters, imaging already the tree outdoors,
sharing the barred shade behind our woods-ringed house
among its cousins, so even the balance, bumbling’s — good
as this gets — a cause to celebrate, even the humor
attending grace, the lives tried on and called back with the season,
moved by light in another morning’s thinking, by
what we become, Elizabeth, as another image forms, recognizably,
the first time. But there’ll be yard-work yet,
tidying the outdoors, and laundry to sort, select, with luggage
to pack for Monday’s unthinkably early road-time,
west to Vandalia, St. Louis, Fayetteville, with seventies
and sun in Arkansas, a few days in the Ozarks
with gear for getting pictures, and the kids,
already settled, back from their past
three years in Ashkelon.

      Given the Blood

      What could I say for that, have I left unwritten and unsaid
or understudied in their absence, in the moods
I think I ought to be amazed by? It makes a difference, doesn’t it,
to another morning’s thoughts, given
the blood and accustomed dearth of sympathies in church-goers,
the ghouls already pasturing, posturing with placards
a block or so from obsequies, and a Saturday acted on, a Sunday
to pack, pick up the meds, and gas the car for Monday,
now that the yard’s been trimmed, that I’ve imagined myself ahead
with notes to follow through on, with pictures uploaded,
edited, or ruined again by flares or depth miscalculations, snared
in the hurry I might know better than, finding
in each the thirsts, in each the inspiration and inspiring,
raised, you could say, as pages are
or as cadenzas, as pages condense to few,
fewer, and the poem appears, in
unforeseen associations.

      Bumbling and Grace

      Here are these kids we love, immersed, in the recombinant
flux, in a third married year begun in Arkansas,
hiking the campus hills, because the hiking makes them happy,
so maybe the falls we sought can wait,
and photographs as well, the more impossible charismas, just
as the koi can wait, playing for position, until
their suppers hail from the porches down on them, even as manna
might have done, supporting a drier still adventure,
and how many storylines, for decades, millions of stories settled on,
transposed, shaping the lives and lusts
and nature of desire, the humor come of it, the bumbling and grace,
let’s say, for all of the beds turned down, and the beds
inflated then by dreaming after travel, suiting a week in Fayetteville
or Ashkelon or Sebring, the breakfasts fresh
from showering, whatever we understand from that, of the falls,
bone dry, as locals meant to tell us, and
our two hour drive, with plans to hike back in for pictures,
our first time in Arkansas, dwarfed
by the shade and light, and by those firs
no one had given a thought
to decorate.




Ancient Horses

      Back from Ashkelon, into a land aroused by masking politics,
by witless and supposed conspiracies, Arlene
and Michael, served up this rush and beckoning, are home
to share it all, these spurred amusements
for the baselines, for the bear-brained, paling, as fall undoes itself.
But what would re-reading likely prove, or narrative
reveal, when moment and symbol find their ways to auction lists,
moved out in the grips of the least attentive buyers, so
that the thought takes hold, an ideology wreaks terrific atmospherics,
pretenders aching to be some place besides the airways
and Bucyrus, with reminders everywhere, recalling the ancient horses
and the pork queens. It’s more than the mind
can bear, be sure, and the only distinction now, with local storylines
as measures, intended to spare a place its triumphs
and comeuppance, whatever he mis-remembers and insists
in his defense, the point of that hurry once,
but now, with the school texts transformed, rewritten to suit some gnomic
play-yard and acquainting, there’s
this presence everywhere, and, everywhere, these calls and cries
an afternoon allows him, the Gouda Buddha gesturing,
dispensing the plagues and tides no one around him here considered.
See how some tenures turn surreal, lines of credit
spent to suit the lines of questioning, to calculate his worth, leaving
you strange, at home, in neighborhoods you think
should seem familiar, because the holidays got you out, and got you
back to this, no less than that talk about his mission,
about the harvestings, yes, and interviews, the stumped next steps
and relocations, and all that beyond you after all,
as the weekending winds work through the Halloween allusions,
into the election forecasting, into the blessings sent,
for kids imagining another picnic improvised, with the coolers
packed and the cookers fired up
around campgrounds in Fayetteville, the lingering light
and shade, the daylight shrinking
and shadows lying out, bringing them here,
         to the very last of it.


Projected Letters is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing the best new and established writing from around the world.


Robert Lietz's poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Agni Review, Antioch Review, Carolina Quarterly, Colorado Review, Georgia Review, Missouri Review, Poetry, and Shenandoah. Eight collections have been published, including Running in Place, At Park and East Division, The Lindbergh Half-century (L’Epervier Press,) Storm Service, and After Business in the West (Basal Books.) His poems have appeared in several webzines. Additionally, Lietz spends a good deal of time taking, post-processing, and printing photographs, examining the relationship between the image-making and the poems he is exploring.