My Pittsburgh

Graham Barnhart

For as long as I was gone 
my Pittsburgh was a summer 
city of telephone poles 
tacked all over with beer bottle caps.
In the evenings, deer wandered 
Forbes Avenue on their way 
to or from the river.  
No one was surprised when lovers 
spent afternoons leaning  
naked from bedroom windows 
calling   Marco—        Polo— 
On their sills amber 
glasses of iced tea emptied 
and filled with sunlight. 

When I came home there was snow—
Beautiful in the way beautiful 
means absent, hoofprints appeared 
regularly at the crosswalks,
but the deer were no longer seen.
Hoping to become vessels 
for which to pour into 
need not also mean 
pouring out, loversspent
the winter whispering 
—Marco        —Polo 
back and forth in the coldparks 
until, lips pressed to their ears, 
they heard each other 
saying only —Marco 
        —Marco          —Marco

Graham Barnhart served as a Special Forces medic in Iraq and Afghanistan and is currently pursuing an MFA at Ohio State University. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Beloit Poetry JournalThe Gettysburg ReviewGulf CoastThe Sewanee Review, and others. He was recently named the recipient of the 2015 Chad Walsh Poetry Prize from the Beloit Poetry Journal.