Mennonite Poetry Home | Leonard Neufeldt



"If You Look That Way”

Back-on-the-maskless-show exhilaration
as he spreads his legs in the largest chair
and leans toward the stage lights
to gather an assortment
of anodized smiles from the host’s greeting
and borrow from the buddy system
of speech alphas ̶  incisor response
ready, communion of cocky cadences
charming the edge of every pause
searching out the next move
against a nation with foreign accents,
a people of every sort of sex,
and wayward pilfered votes in plain
view if you look that way

A change of voice like a garment rending:
the hidden hand in zig-zag storms
and their leavings among unroofed suburbs,
in trailer parks on their sides.
And science has been handed its final solution,
the hum of refrigerated trucks
behind the ER, their prior claim
as clear as the Lord’s I-told-you-so
nod and the stretch-marked cheeks
and forehead or the contract
for his next book, just confirmed

along with the moment for miracles,
this tiding, too, not self-forgetful.
Soon, very soon   simplicity
of arms raised past themselves
as if to roll up the curtain between
the world’s deep dark
and pale light already glimpsed
in the under edge of the creeping up,
an offer of a secret ready
to reveal itself,
his arms a little higher as he
turns to watch us watching him




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