Hitching a ride, trusting a partner, marrying the same person three times
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John Bargowski tends a large organic garden in the hills of northwestern New Jersey. He has written two books of poetry, including his newest, American Chestnut.
On my way home from school / with a gang of friends / I would see him outside / one of the bars or diners / near the Journal Square station: / my uncle, rasping the price / of a shine to the passing crowd
This time my mother got it all right. / The year, the month, and the day. / The president’s name. Where she’s staying. / So she thinks she’s going home. / When I stop by the rehab center, she tells me / to make sure the heat’s turned up, / the cable switched on again, fresh / milk in the fridge.
My middle girl found it long after the crows / had picked away the eyes, the gums, / the supple stretch of tongue
When the disciple who loved Him most / unsheathed his sword / and sliced off the right ear / of the high priest’s servant, / we all cheered and stomped the parquet floor / in that February classroom
Heavy, wet snow all morning, then by noon / the clouds wrung dry, whipped away, / the sky so brilliant after the viewing / and graveside service for our youngest
It’s been months / since mud’s been stuck / to his paws, longer / since I’ve had to comb / any burs or ticks / from his thinning coat.