The Best Light
Both children call. The boy lists triumphs
they don’t understand but which gradually,
he says, will make money.
The girl reports at length but not
about what they hear in her voice and see on the screen.
When the calls are done (at least they call!)
they’re discussed in the same style,
putting the best light
on what continues dark. Now she, the more mobile,
makes a late breakfast (their
meal), meanwhile prioritizing
chores, other calls, and him. The room
fills up with smells of eggs and dishes;
she opens the window slightly. The welcome
air is chill and damp and redolent
of the past, though less of gifts than promises.
Sometimes I identify
with the strangest things. They’re tearing up
the street outside the house. Not potholes, and
not sewer-work –
not deep enough, but deep
enough to reveal the somehow
disturbing grey-black stuff
ranging in size from dust to rocks,
above it simple stones, and near the surface
surprisingly bright sand that was once soil;
I wonder what grew here. Of course
you can’t ask what they’re doing, even when
they’re just standing around, and they often,
perhaps falsely, seem to be standing around.
I hope they finish soon, and fill that
hole with whatever, so that cars,
including mine, may again
course over asphalt.
About Frederick Pollack
Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS (Story Line Press; the former reissued 2022 by Red Hen Press), and three collections, A POVERTY OF WORDS (Prolific Press, 2015), LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018), and THE BEAUTIFUL LOSSES (Better Than Starbucks Books, forthcoming 2023). Many other poems in print and online journals.