Back to Issue Thirty-Eight



Sam my friend August plods
the month closest to death
full of emptiness and empty
of fullness month of my birth
I pick up my red plastic bowl
sup the terrible granular coffee
I say to myself I say I will
stay with the love in front of me
the orange hall smells of feet
the monks assume their places
together we chant Laudate
dominium laudate dominum
omnes gente alleluia Sam
to my right the pleached trees
cicadas preach all over the place
like the nerve-endings of gods
Sam Owen I am the godfather
to your boy Martin I am made
from what others have seen
in me what others name in me
Laudate dominium laudate
dominum omnes gente alleluia
I kneel I search above I stop
interrupting for once in my life
I lay down my pack
the question the answer is love





I lift up my eyes
in the Big Y aisle
where is my help
where is my help
in the check out
with our coupons
my father rants
about Republicans
my mother´s teeth
the color of worms
her greasy hair
in a topknot
it´s a small rental
her second-hand
wheelchair smells
like a compost heap
we eat meals
delivered in black
plastic the sea says
don´t think twice
or does it say you
cannot do this twice
the cranberry light
dices Connecticut
tints the blue berms
a buoy bell chimes
St. Ann´s steeple
splices a sky the color
of a crawl space
my mother urinates
into a commode
on Mile Creek Road
the liquid drums down
on the plastic bucket
like a rain squall
the bureaucrat says
they´re on the list
to be dissected
for free and could
we press three
for Social Security
if we wanted a box
in wood or plastic
the prices varied
saltbox houses locked
tight Yankee thrift
where the librarian
smells like mothballs
on Lyme Street
and say Oh that´s nice
the estuary shifts
with awls and mice
switch grass sea myrtle
marsh elder glasswort
sweet pepper bush
austere Connecticut
my mysterious state
remote and elegant
next door lesbians
my mother said
were not lesbians
were swept into urns
Audrey and Bee
Audrey and Bee


Spencer Reece is the author of The Road to Emmaus (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014). He is the national secretary for the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Madrid, Spain.

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