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Three Poems – Barry Seiler

Thanksgiving in the Catskills

Our second home neighbors are off
to share dinner with their family
of friends. They bought here
after the Towers fell, a case of just in case.
These are their homes
away from home, their seasonal retreats.
Sneaking looks through our windows
into their rooms, I’m saddened
to see how they’ve torn down
the inner walls to have an open flow concept.
Still, they’ve kept the Victorian shell.
Their appliances seem noble.
Standing in the soft kitchen light
they shine silver and black.
Here they prepare healthy but delicious dinners,
slicing locally sourced vegetables
on their kitchen islands.
They only desire things to be beautiful,
beautiful in the eyes of others.
They only desire some time away
from being artists and architects,
principals and professors,
in the large pond of the City
to share the locally raised
and slaughtered turkey
seated around a tasteful
Martha Stewart knockoff
of a classic American farm table.


Train Time

Above us the morning moon,
chewed ear of heaven, catching
the songs escaping our heads
from under the earphones.
And the bank flashing the time
and temp to speed us along.
And the almost youthful execs
in sneaks and suits
quick stepping to the PATH
and under the lordly Hudson
to the Trade Center
and the financial district.
And the whole blessed City
shimmering like a wild hunch.
And the steady hum of it all
rising through the cracks and
grates of the made world.
Some of us swing left
to the Erie Lackawanna
traveling inland.
Each day we know this much:
the 7:35 departs track 9
before the 7:25 departs track 10.
And the 7:25 will sit there,
the faces of the uninitiated
pressed to the filthy windows.
And the portly conductor
will swing up the aisle
reversing the seats for the long ride out,
breathing heavily, his face flushed
with the prospect of motion,
good morning the regulars,
calling from under his chins:
Tickets people, tickets please.


Old Poet Reading to Students

He lifts each word
between his thumb
and forefinger and
holds it in the air
for us to admire.
Then places it back
on the page, pleased
with the placement,
the inevitability.
So pleased,
he reads it twice.
When he ends
and the applause
he looks up from
under his glasses
and mutters to no one
in particular:
My craft is terrible.


Barry Seiler has published four books of poetry, three of them by University of Akron Press. Frozen Falls, the most recent, was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. He appears in the recent anthology New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust. He lives on the outskirts of Roxbury, NY, with his wife Dian and cats Homer and Milton.

1 thought on “Three Poems – Barry Seiler”


    “Shimmering like a wild hunch”–and the “chewed ear of heaven.”
    Those, and others, lean out and tell us to listen.

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