Junk Drawer

Much like my commitment to this blog, my practice of writing a daily poem begins with good intent at the start of each year, only to founder in a few months on the rocks of “good gods and goddesses, these are awful.”

When I was younger I used to send poems to an English teacher friend of mine for critique, poems full of sadness and grief. Once I sent him a more joyful batch; I’d been reading Whitman and was trying to emulate the exuberance of Leaves of Grass. My teacher friend wrote back that he liked the dark ones better.

So do I, apparently.


I found the keys in the junk drawer
along with the post-its and bottle caps
and other reminders of days I must have
lived through while I waited for the world 
to change, knowing it could not, that it 
could only always be what it is, the sum 
of all its parts, trees and beetles and milkweed 
and kissing bugs, the people who loved, 
the people who would never love, the train 
I rode to the end of the tracks, the dog I met
there who followed me home, we shared a
package of hot dogs from the quickmart
as I rummaged through the lost voices 
and empty refrains of too many seasons 
spent in the same place, the lock on the shed 
is rusted now but perhaps one of these keys 
will fit and the tumbler will turn and the 
shank will lift and the door will swing open, 
perhaps it’s not too late to step inside, find 
what was lost, all those ways I meant to be. 


Three of my poems are now up on David Onan’s online poetry blog, Fevers of the Mind. They were previously included in a Fevers anthology and in a collection of poems inspired by Leonard Cohen (thank you, David.) Two are from my own 2017 collection, The Breakup Poems.

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