Issue > Poetry
Philip Dacey

Philip Dacey

Fhilip Dacey is the author of eleven books of poems, including Mosquito Operas: New and Selected Short Poems (Rain Mountain Press, 2010) and Vertebrae Rosaries: 50 Sonnets (Red Dragonfly Press, 2009). The winner of three Pushcart Prizes, he has written whole volumes of poetry about Thomas Eakins, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and New York City.

The Saint Of Winter

Like a child, I hate winter clothes.
I want the weather my way.
This tangle of sleeves and layers,
buttons and strings—God, how I thrash
(now I've made things worse), crazy to be free!

But elsewhere, another, or so I suppose,
curbs his will to dress for the cold day,
each slow, patient move a prayer.
His face nearly interred in a mask,
he does not strain even to see.

Requiem For A Traffic Cop

               —Owen Dacey, 1926-2009

Who'll direct the traffic now that Owen's gone?
The waving hands, the swaying hips—where are they?
All the trucks and cars must find their way alone.

He was an artist of the intersection,
a dancer in blue whose choreography
kept traffic perfectly timed. Can he be gone?

Let the St. Louis rush hour come to a halt for the man
who tamed the untameable streets. Let the silence say
he will be missed, who has left us, stranded, alone.

Even at home he gave a center to motion,
surrounded by the traffic of family.
They turn left and right looking for him, but he is gone.

Once he was a bedside traffic cop for Joan,
our sister, dying too soon. Ever on duty,
he didn't let her find her way alone.

Now he's beyond the noise of traffic. No one
honks there impatiently, no engines grind away
where Owen—husband, father, brother—has gone,
leaving the trucks and cars to move forward alone.

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