Two Poems by Gregory Lawless

Little Matter
For Jack Christian

We thought it was a new kind of thinking.
The new kid did it, eyes closed, feet
in the air. He pushed the wind around
like a bully. His movements were otherwise
alphabetical. We lined up to stand
in his line of vision so he might
bless us. We wanted to climb the stairs
of his body, wanted to be on top
of the highest thing. When he looked up
it was different from us looking up
at him. He said if we stacked all of our chairs
into coral shapes, He would come. He
was the Accident Father. He was Mr. Contingency
and a myth to all but the new kid
who loved Him as he spoke of distance.
My girlfriend at the time said the new kid
could speed read her mind. In a second
he could go all the way back to the beginning
when her thoughts were just shapes
and agitation, and sort them out with the feather
of his gaze. It wasn’t love
exactly. That’s what the new kid taught
us: no more exactly. Embrace the scuffs on your shoes. Don’t
draw broken hearts in your diary, because
they just look like sprouting milk pods
to your beloved. The new kid never spoke
of tragedy. But he had a book of glaciers
in his backpack and sometimes looked on those
with sorrow. He lived with us
for ten years but was the new kid
the whole time. I have much to say
he said from the space above his bike
every morning. Every day there was a lesson,
a miracle, and then the deep twilight
of our forgetting. Rumor has it, the new kid
went to college in Greenland.


Old Timer’s Disease

Sometimes middle-aged people get Old Timer’s
But it’s rare. Mostly it happens to the old
Or the pretty old. Think of time. Watch it take a belt sander
To the mountains. See. It keeps slapping you
In the face until your skin sags and your teeth jump
Out of your mouth. Everything’s too loud
Because of time and after a while
Your ears are just for hair. One day
You pick up a hairbrush and think
It’s a bird. You don’t know the mirror man
Anymore. Your kids’ names burn away
Like money. You can only treat it
By getting younger or pretending
It isn’t real. But it happens
Slowly, which is good or bad, depending
On how you feel.


Gregory Lawless Gregory Lawless

Gregory Lawless is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and author of I Thought I Was New Here (BlazeVOX Books). His work has either appeared in or is forthcoming from Artifice, Best of the Net 2007, Cider Press Review, The Cortland Review, Drunken Boat, Gulf Stream, The National Poetry Review, Sonora Review, Third Coast, Zoland Poetry and others. He has twice been nominated for a Pushcart. He lives in Waltham, Massachusetts with his wife, Jen, and his cat, Mr. Sparkles.

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