Mennonite Poetry Home | Robert Martens



rest, good friend

a ghost sits on a bench
beside the river. a kind
late winter's day has come to him.
the sky's so blue it might
shatter. naked and wistful
the maples, and willows
burning yellow. two buffleheads
dive in a current that's
one long brown breath. the ghost
sips his coffee. a mountain breeze
wafts through his bones. he checks his
watch - then chuckles, he's forgotten,
no deadlines for a ghost. although

maybe he should be somewhere
else, no one's given him
instructions, and he was never good
at reading maps. maybe he should be
somewhere perfect. changeless.
an unblinking eye, slumbers not
nor sleeps. but he wants to be
here, on this bench beside the river,
where some frail beast is tunnelling
beneath his feet. he crosses his legs.
he will sit here until doomsday,
until the sun sputters out. not
a long time for a ghost. a few
mugs of coffee, a pulp novel,
wind in the rushes, a wooden bench.

i walk by. we wave. he was
my friend. we both shed a tear,
but it's not sorrow, exactly.
i vanish around the bend.
the ghost yawns and stretches, leans back
into azure's drift, earth's cool flow,
the rocking of dead poplar leaves.
he'll sleep well tonight.

© Robert Martens




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