Issue > Poetry
Aaron J. Poller

Aaron J. Poller

Aaron J. Poller died of prostate cancer on July 28, 2015. Poller studied with poets Robert Mezey and Daniel Hoffman at the University of Pennsylvania in 1969 and was involved in the creation of the US1 Poets' Cooperative. He worked as a Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Practioner until his death. Poller collaborated with poet Amy Small-McKinney to complete his final poems.

Spring Globes

—for Margot Piatkowski
With no explanation spring globes appear.
Spring has been cold this year.
The fire of the cherry tree touches me.
Chemotherapy is a line from there to here.
The photograph of my maternal grandparents,
their fleshy arms around one another,
speaks to me.
Imagination makes life possible.
We insist on our own pain at all costs.
Lion roars. Mouse answers.
I have been foolish so long the wind returns.
Deep aching in my body reports from a distant place.
Sea of sand, salt of earth are within.
We walk a wide path into the forest of love.
Holding hands, we hold each other.
At night the sky comes close, the moon a candle.
The way home is a silken vine.
Someone, something, everything
whispers my name, Aaron Poller.

Now That I Am Dying


I am trying to be water or air.
Four days detox in Tucson for the whistled soul,
a heart stretches to love the world again.
Light and dark enter me, rolling like the sun west.
Is this the Mr. Aaron Poller?
Just beyond unsullied black, a land of no cell phone,
no disconnection.

Turkey Buzzard

—for Linda
This could be the last time I watch these cherries bloom.
Their beauty and my sadness are the same, breaking
my heart as I join the river of spring, wash a path
into April one more time.
Three nights ago, a turkey buzzard soared
above us, gliding up and down on white-tipped wings,
almost too gigantic to fly, graceful as anything
we have seen, reminding us of all we know
and do not know.
Jason, my chemotherapy nurse,
says he can keep me alive another year.
Cancer may have other ideas.
My life goes on for now, cherry trees my tears.

Amy Small-McKinney

Amy Small-McKinney

Amy Small-McKinney won The Kithara Book Prize 2016 for her second full-length collection of poems, Walking Toward Cranes, to be published by Glass Lyre Press. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, for example, The American Poetry Review, Tiferet Journal, and the anthology Veils, Halos, and Shackles: International Poetry on the Abuse and Oppression of Women, edited by Charles Fishman and Smita Sahay. Small-McKinney is a cancer survivor.

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