South Bend

Anthony Robinson
Photo by Paul Jarvis

First there were things & then
            there were other things—it was a time

of great specificity

            (& floating)


you, my love, my jugular vein, were the rebel
                                                       were the Other Thing.


Never mind tornadoes, helicopters, & tomato paste.

Never mind that in the Army “Warrant Officer” means
you drive a helicopter.

             In the Navy it means something
completely different.
             (You wouldn’t know this. You shouldn’t.)


To yoke, incongruously, desperate things together
has a long & varied, storied, buried history.

It has, my little monkey, a pedigree.

A symphony of men, turkey leg bits clinging to crispy beards,
adorned in lace & fringed (& cringed) brocade, penning

verses to be understood. They say. & curtsy. 


& the ugliness of the ampersand implies an ugliness
in the user: of this I am guilty.

I also plead no contest to finding you more indispensable than the
serial comma.


Here, one point seven thousand miles away, it can be said.
(And the passive construction frees me from agency.)

Here, 1700 leagues from The Zoo. Here, 1700 times point six two kilometers
away from the lake, the effect of which makes snowmen quiver,

Here lies your daddy: once- (& twice- & thrice-) besotted, poorly read
or misread,


occupying nothing.          [silence           calm breath]


You occupy with curls, with black eyes, with
Spanish, with your newfound skill of spelling

(O! and strike some o’ that up there, yes? Is trita et obvia, no?)


 The day you came to town was perilous & I was gaunt. 

The woman you call “mommy” was a dusky traffic flare.

I. Well, I slept after. I slept, waited for you to become.


2000 miles is very far through the snow.



Anthony Robinson lives in Oregon's Willamette Valley and works in a call center. He is the author of one chapbook, Brief Weather and I Guess a Sort of Vision (Pilot Books, 2006) and a founding editor of the poetry journal The Canary. Recent work appears or is forthcoming in TYPO, Better, Verse, and elsewhere.