>last light

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Last Light-Lick Creek by Nadine Hergenrider
Waiting at the Luncheon Counter for My Tuna Melt

This is – remember –
this is not the way your life will turn
out as you listen to, as you overhear two old
men talk about Walter Benyen. One knew him well
the other was his nephew. He died

(didn’t he?) they ask each other,
reaching for a bit of dry toast, a sip of bitter
coffee with that same abandoned air you saw
in a man walking through North Park
holding an empty leash, and in the pages

of the hardbound book you saw fluttering
after each passing car, staying where it landed
in the crosswalk down the street. But you wonder
why a book gets tossed, if a dog is ever found.
You thought to stop to read the title, to search

for the dog, but you didn’t. And you don’t
ask now which one is Joe when you stand
at the jukebox, studying the note taped
to the glass: Don’t play G7 if Joe is here.
It brings him bad memories.

*****

In trying to pick out which of Nadine’s postcards to pair with my poem (which was first published by Barnwood International Poetry Review), I had the selection narrowed down to six choices.(Her work is that beckoning . . !) 
Some of her artwork features an area not too far from where I live (and not too far from where her folks now live),but a long way from where she lives now. But fairly close to that luncheon counter. The overheard conversation in my poem was real (but the name was changed). (aside to Nadine: one of the men talking in the poem is related to your father.)
The man with the empty leash and the abandoned book were also real. All these things appeared in the same week. Then I flew down to LA to visit a friend, with all these things tossing around inside me. When we walked into a corner bar to step out of the harsh sunlight for a bit of time, the note on the jukebox delivered the poem to me.
*****
 If you have the time, Nadine has posted some comments about her dog in the post which includes her photo of Cintae. Here.
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About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

4 responses to “>last light

  1. >I've read the poem through several times, and read it aloud. The "voice" of the poem beckons. Thanks for including the way it came to be written, a poem that emerged out of real life experiences, synthesized. Your poem captures those moments when our multi-layered thoughts result in unexpected insights. The note was real, too? There's a story in that note.

  2. >…love this. Your "voice" as Annie says, is really quite amazing. It's conversational yet elegant. Thank you for sharing. Uplifted, yet again, by my visit here. Ya need to guest blog for me sometime so I can showcase more of your work and link to your book. More people should be reading your work! I feel sad for the folks missing out.

  3. >hi annie,i'm honored you read the poem several times and even out loud. yes, the note was real (and aged). the poem feels like a collage of events in my day. one of the things i've enjoyed since i started writing poetry is the way i pay attention to more of my surroundings, in a more minute way. what if we were to move through a few days and jot down a few notes about the small things that flashed my in our day. that book in the road, the man with the empty leash, the note taped to a trunk asking if you'd lost your car keys….why do we notice what we notice? what common thread holds each of these images together?hi mel,i'm so pleased this poem found you and that my blog touches you! it'd be fun to figure out a way to guest blog and i'm honored that you would consider wanting to share me with your friends and readers. thanks!

  4. >"…why a book gets tossed, if a dog is ever found."Love this line.

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