The Innisfree Poetry Journal
www.innisfreepoetry.org

by James Cihlar


BERGEN MERCY

Claiming a city. Collecting signs.
I am back to say goodbye.

Tidyland
Laundromat.

Associated Thrift:
Yesterday's Best.

"Jan"-tiques. Owner Jan Gardner.
A trip to the past with a touch of class.

Blood pressure 126 over 90.
72nd and Dodge. Heritage Village.

New Lady Fitness. Suburban Bridals.
From Here to Maternity.

NW Radial Hwy in Benson.
Omaha Lace Laundry. A fashion cleaner.

Musette Bar. Grampy's Odds & Ends.
All proceeds go to Uta Hallee Home for Girls.

Tip Top Thrift Shop.
Jim's Seek & Save.

Enter Through Alley. Buy an antique
that evokes a favorite memory

of a special person in your life
or a happy occasion from your childhood.

My mother sat on the gossip bench
talking to Aunt Honey on the rotary dial.

I walked past,
rubbing sleep out of my eye.

Thinking I was sad, my mother
pulled me onto her lap to comfort me.

Because I didn't want her to stop,
I pretended to cry.

Animal Ark Shelter.
Return to Willoughby.

Please come browse,
I know you will find

that perfect memory
to take home.


WHAT MY EX USED

Promises
A vacant bedroom

Former roommate
Who taught him

Everything he knows
In bed

AIDS test
A single rose

Note in my mailbox
Please move in

His own
Personals

My fear
Of being outed

Green Tupperware
Itemized bill


WHAT I USED

A poem about plums
My sister

And her husband
Graduate school

Mean streak
A broken glass

Willa Cather
Bicycle

Sun tanning
His grandfather's pajamas

Cooking lessons
Monte Carlo

Broyhill Fountain
Lee's Chicken

His birthday
My fists


HOROSCOPES

    For Michael Radelich

In the gift shop of the museum
you dismissed yours.

"Self-doubt?  Don't have any."
Three years ago I drove

through the sand hills
to an interview

for a job I didn't want
and startled a trio of birds

from the barren asphalt.
They already knew more than I did--

the arc of their rising
the same as your hand lifting,

blue sun flooding my car--
you, caught between jobs,
    
me, starting a new one,
neither knowing what's next

When I was out of work,
I missed, even, complaining about my job--

then the stoplight changes
and I turn the wheel to the left.

Your hand makes it to my shoulder
and you say

"Don't worry. There'll be new things
to be bitter about."


BERYL THE BEAR

The first time Beryl lied to me,
I told my boss.
She said,

Try
To understand
her.

The next times Beryl lied to me,
I told my boss.
She said,

Try
To ignore
Her.

The last time Beryl lied to me,
I told my boss.
She said,

I agree
With
Beryl.



Copyright 2006-7 by Cook Communication