Issue > Poetry
Bernard Henrie

Bernard Henrie

Bernard Henrie administered social service programs for 20 years in Los Angeles before imposing his own exile to the Mojave Desert. He ventures out for art, movies and the best peach cobbler in California. (He will share the location with poetry lovers).

Winter Internment

Postcards and a photograph

marooned on my message

board like a funeral wreath;

winter comes from far away.

 
II

A man walks in the street,

wet shoes; somber as a small

church in Bishopsgate.

It means a woman

will receive a love letter.


Your love letter came today,

you kissed me on the mouth.

Ten years too late. My unlucky

stars and you draped across

my life the last few winters.


III

Winter, all this month.

Ice slick as a dinner knife.

Three ducks stare, zinc eyes,

bottoms brown as tobacco leaf.

 
IV

The winter so cerebral this year

speaking Turkish or slow Japanese

I cannot translate.

 
V

Watched the crimson billow of your sail,

only yourself as crew; bare-headed

you shout to rows of winter sea caps;

the waves destined to reach shore

as children return home from college

older than we remember.

Lower Manhattan

Morning. White bandage
across the city.

Men sweat like stevedores,
my wife burns gold
as the Metro Goldwyn lion,
eyes with violet mascara.

A plastic Dorothy Perkins
rose set in a water glass.

Windows gap like missing
teeth.

14th Street pool.
Swimmers tint green;
a beach ball sinks under
the splintering dive board;
a silk scarf scented
with sunscreen oil opens
into claustrophobic air;

I haunt package stores,
melancholy street lights
coming on; merchantmen
lock-up. My mind drifts,
names gone, dates gone,
what remains in a year?
a faint outline of things.

The cities rough breathing,
rise and fall of a patient's
chest in a silvered iron lung.

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