Sunday, February 7, 2016

Jason Irwin

To have known you then –
the summer of your senior year,
posing bare chested,
like Charles Atlas,
in front of a ‘52 Impala,
a boyish grin, a lock of dark hair
hanging over your eyes –
I know we would not
be friends. The way
you can envision
the flight path of a hawk
as it circles and glides,
almost hanging in the air,
until, suddenly it swoops down
to snatch a squirrel
from the tree outside
your apartment window.
I’m sorry for it all:
our not being friends,
the years
and the disappointments
they’ve brought,
wanting at times to be cruel,
to diminish you, yet still
needing you. For all the words
that stick in our throats
and remain unsaid.
It’s as if we’ve been stranded
on opposite shores
of a frozen lake. We both know
that if we venture out
onto the ice, it will crack, 
and neither of us has courage
enough for that.

* * *


The old man next to me at the bar
smelling of Bryllcreem
and a kidney infection, his face
the color of uncooked chicken,
mutters into his glass:
“Walt Disney? General Patton?
Fuck ‘em. I know what’s what.”

* * *

Jason Irwin is the author of Watering the Dead (Pavement Saw Press, 2008), winner of the Transcontinental Poetry Award, and the chapbooks Where You Are (Night Ballet Press, 2014), & Some Days It's A Love Story (Slipstream Press, 2005), and A Blister of Stars (forthcoming: Coleridge Street Press, 2016). He has also had work published in Poetry East, Sycamore Review, Confrontation, and Poetry Ireland Review, among others. He grew up in Dunkirk, NY, and now lives in Pittsburgh.

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