Brendan Constantine

Brendan Constantine‘s work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, FIELD, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly, and Hotel Amerika, among other journals. His most recent collection is ‘Dementia, My Darling’ (2016 Red Hen Press).  He has received grants and commissions from the Getty Museum, James Irvine Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  He currently teaches poetry at the Windward School and regularly offers classes to hospitals, foster homes, veterans, and the elderly.  Photo credit: Michelle Felix

 

 

I miss last month

 

Of course, in those days we were

too poor to afford different days

We ate what fruit fell from the calendar

and wore the same expressions for weeks

Even our faces were hand-me-downs

 

Not like now, with everyone in hoods

to catch their heads for them

everyone getting their crying done

before they leave for work

Can’t see the light for the glare

 

I bet if we kissed in the road

the road would take credit

I bet if we kissed in the country

the country would think

we were building a road

 

Oh, songs of last month

with your goldfish castles

and sappy rhymes

Oh, texts of last month

with pictures of our eyes

 

If we were a map, we could sleep

together in a glove box

If we were a country

we could print our own maps

One mile would equal one inch

 

and I would bring you anything

from the next room

 

 

Tonight there is no death but by fire

upon the purge of Aleppo

 

Old age is burning and cancer and the failing heart,

the missed step and raw bread in the throat. What

are bullets, what are knives and pills but blazing.

Ambulances bloom and the lungs of the drowned

finish hot. Now, this instant, somewhere on earth

under the smoke and the needful dilemma of the sun,

some expert is pointing to a chart and saying aloud,

Can you see this red spot here? That’s where ending

begins, in the brain, the hands, in the paper houses

of the poor. Then it spreads.

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