ISSUE EIGHT
August 1999

Douglas Goetsch

Douglas Goetsch   This marks an author's first appearance in an online magazineDouglas Goetsch is the author of Nobody’s Hell (Hanging Loose Press), and Wherever You Want (1997, Pavement Saw Press Chapbook Prize). His work has appeared recently in The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, and the online anthology Poetry Daily. He teaches creative writing and English at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan.
The Bulbs    Click to hear in real audio

for Lisa Denton


I wait in the U-Haul with the kids
while she, in my sister’s peasant skirt
and her brother’s parka, fishes
the beds with a busted trowel,
then her bare hands thrusting, pulling
dark knots from the cold ground.

Behind her, the torched house
where her mother drank herself
to death, where we lived
until it burned. The insurance
bastards, still investigating,
won’t even pay for a motel.

I honk—Come on! She stands
in the stiff wind, which sends
the charred stink of the place
over the town. She walks the lawn
looking—not quite down—almost
inside herself for where she planted.

The kids have mourned their
stuffed animals, didn’t even cry
when the neighbors looted, but
no way will she leave these bulbs,
which have made flowers in two houses,
on both sides of the Hudson.

Finally she comes to the truck,
the hem of her skirt
in her hand, cradling them.
She blinks back tears, climbs
in, slams the door, says
Get this goddamn thing moving. 

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Douglas Goetsch: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue EightThe Cortland Review