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Borderlands Review, 2 poems

The following poems were published in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, No. 46, 2017. 

Solve for x

Here’s what I know so far:
Chicken have feet.

Trees have leaves,
and Trump has Pence.

Mercy has no limit,
but forgiveness is hard to get,

as oceans have fish, and fish
gave the world reptiles

and all the other things that crawl
or walk, e.g. chickens.

Oceans have mammals and once
a few decided life was better back there,

colder and darker, yes, but also
buoyant, and unspeakably moist.

And charity has no limit,
but love is hard to come by,

as the movies now have sound,
but once they went 3D they reached

a certain limit: People got bored
and stopped supporting parks.

Everyone stayed inside,
eyes glued to possibility,

the economy a factor, but only
one: the solution always x.

And friends have enemies, but
really, few friends,

as night follows day, but we
know which is master.

As, at the end of the day,
it’s hard to decide which

I like better: closing my eyes,
or waking up.



While Waiting for the Report

The laundry.
The ticking of the coffee pot.
The sun elbowing its way between the curtain
and the frame when the plan was to sleep in
and make up for so much lost sleep. And then,
once I was awake, the sun muffled by
storm clouds from the south, tamer
after all that destruction.

The desk calendar busied with shorthand
and numbers like small dams
against the slippage of time.
The “told-you-so” of the clock.

Her bras hanging from green wire
drying in the basement, each right cup
now imaged with a red “x” for “maybe.”
The seethe of air pushing through the broken weather-
stripping of the basement door and the front door as well.
All winter they complained about the loss of heat
and wasted expense. Now their song is almost
hopeful, like a candidate’s promise.

The cream that swirls in my coffee, like
those clouds, disappearing into a new form.
And my hunger following, satisfied for a time
after cereal. But never disappearing. Or, but once.

Bare ganglia of trees dotted now
with iotas of hope. More than hope:
these surely will unfold into hand-sized green.
Diurnal contracts with what feeds us.
And the annual revocation.

Today’s list: folding and tucking
into drawers. A trip to the hardware store,
and thirty-minute chores. Washing up.
Putting into place. Clearing towards afternoon,
with a forty-percent chance of rain tomorrow.


© David Ruekberg