Sample Poems by Christian Anton Gerard
Wilmot Here, Collect for Stella; or
Do you even remember our wedding?
My hips clapping against yours later
all those years ago, that New Jack City?
Your father looking at his son-in-law?
My silk three-piece tuxedo, lilacs
on the left breast lapel? The verbena?
The iron in vitamin pills pouring
moonshine into our butterfly-garden-stomachs?
Our mothers blooming like middle-
aged peacocks who’ve found their hundred eyes?
How I leaned to my own lapel, breathing
in the afros I’d wished for in the sixties,
tamales I could never make authentic,
houses I’d built you in dreams?
How right before the rings, you
looked at my Pops? His eyes
ripe as peaches, a stunned smile
like the tin-man’s?
They’d met in fall and wintered over, when
flowers are bought except the Narcissus,
Black Hellebores, Pansies near his Winter
Daphne. She thought it endearing that he
gardened in December, working with a
whiskey-filled flask inside his plaid left chest
pocket. My world, he said, can’t stop for snow.
She thought herself Mercury, not Venus,
hating her bareness. I need nimbus
clouds, she said, the wildness in flowered fields.
Winter depression’s all over this year,
he said. I don’t mean depression, she said.
Hope you don’t mean kids, Wilmot said. I hate
that, she said, and crying when it’s freezing.
They Bought a China Cabinet Instead of a Bookcase
Its door is glass, like the hearts of some men
Wilmot’s known, but also some women. Spenser’s
Britomart in a looking glass saw Britain’s
future. Sidney’s Pyrocles in a glass-smooth stream
saw himself— an Amazonian queen.
They filled the cabinet with books fragile
as her great-grandmother’s willed wedding china.
The glass door like a key to the interior.
The skeleton key like love’s history. Wilmot
sips cola outside the library. Yesterday
he heard a janitor say you can’t undo
what you’ve done, you’re gonna have to
giver her time. I know it’s hard.
The Janitor’s son must be sleeping on the couch.
The Janitor’s glass past cut his son a key.
The Janitor knows keys just open doors, a light bulb’s
required to really know and nothing worth a shit’s
stored in a windowed room, that hands have
to remember the way. If only hearts could be
china cabinets. If only glass served one purpose.
Her heart was dark when Wilmot first walked in,
but he had only a key, not a key and memory
of a light switch. Isn’t it the same for all lovers?
Didn’t see all these old books in you, she said,
Windexing the door, wiping till it squeaked
like a bed before the passion’s end. Kind of
turns me on. How long’d it take to read all these?
How long’d you think your poetry’d protect you?
You Know the Night Heron that Used to Live
in our magnolia? Stella said. Now he tends
the creek out back, half vigilante,
half yard décor. Prowling the knee-high reeds.
He sneaks in like the wind calls for dusk
through leaves. He must be lost, Wilmot said.
No, look, there’s the hen peeping
from the marsh grass. See how he goes
to her? Their tiny square dance? How
he cocks that white tuft side to side?
He’s asking how to move her from the roost,
maybe the world, its reach like a black cloak
harsh as wood smoke. How poetic, he said.
I’m late, she said. Three weeks.