At 40 My Wife Begins Writing Poems – TheScreamOnline
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At 40 My Wife Begins Writing Poems

Each night, they come to her in dreams,
and when she can’t listen anymore,
she wakes and writes in darkness,
the shadows from the street falling
through the blinds, and onto the paper,
like whispers.

She feels me there beside her,
sleeping in a world without dreams,
or horizons, a beached whale, all breath
and cold flesh.  When she reads her poems
to me in the morning kitchen, I’m puzzled,
frightened.  Don’t worry, she says, I love you
more than anything.

She dreams one night she is driving
in the desert, wind moving through the air
like lean snakes.  Hungry, she stops
near a gray shed.  Sees the bones
of three angels lying on a table,
and urinates into a tub
filled with photos.  In the corner
her mother stands in red stockings,
her feet swollen like salmon,
her tongue adrift in a dark sea,
her lips shaping sighs, maybe questions,
each one as different as blue
and yellow.

When she wakes, the lines are scrimshaw,
circles flattening under the weight
of triangles, gashes, red birds in trees.
I put down my coffee cup,
search her eyes.  She knows
what all of it means.

(Published previously in Van Gogh’s Ear)

John Guzlowski’s writing appears in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, Ontario Review, North American Review, Salon.Com, Rattle, Atticus Review, and many other print and online journals here and abroad.  His first novel Suitcase Charlie, a mystery set among Holocaust survivors in Chicago, is available from Amazon.  His poems and personal essays about his parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany appear in his book Echoes of Tattered Tongues (Aquila Polonica Press, March 2016). Of Guzlowski’s writing, Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz said, “He has an astonishing ability for grasping reality.”

Photo ©Joanne Warfield