Four Poems by Louis Faber

The Mantle
On the mantle of the fireplace
were two pictures, one of her
mother, one of his, much smaller,
both black and white, both women
younger, his still wearing the age
of weariness and survival.
One day he dared ask aloud
why her mother’s picture
was so much larger, his
in a small metal frame, hers
gilted, and she gave him a stare.
The next day there were
no pictures on the mantle,
none ever again.
Over the Fence
As kids it was the height
of bravery when we’d climb
over the fence of the private
elementary school and use
the best money could buy playground,
until the security guard would
wake up and give us hobbled chase.
We’d easily get back over
the fence until that one day
when Larry skipped and fell
onto one of the metal posts
which pierced his abdomen
and we froze until the old guard
fumbled for his radio, and called
for an ambulance as Larry cried.
Larry lost a kidney that afternoon
and we a bit of our childhood,
suddenly aware that we were
always going to be nothing
more than the poor neighborhood
kids who would never belong
on the playgrounds of the rich.
A Good Book
My father said that he loved reading,
which struck me as odd, since I
couldn’t recall him ever picking up
a book that wasn’t focused on business.
But there he sat, a James Patterson
in his lap, he staring intently at the page,
nodding periodically as though the words
had taken on sudden and personal meaning.
Two weeks later we sat in the home’s
small, sunlit atrium, he well propped up
in his wheelchair, his hair in urgent
need of a cut, Patterson again in his lap.
I asked him what the book was about,
and he said, “You know, it’s a thriller,
and really exciting,” and I could see
he wouldn’t go beyond the cover’s promise.
He died months later, his body then
following his mind’s earlier departure,
and in the bedstand, its spine broken
at page 134, was his beloved Patterson,
still more than half unread.
My dear Seurat, I have been
meaning to write for some time,
 but could not see the point
and pointless activity seems
such a terrible waste of time.
I trust you have been painting,
now that Spring has arrived, I
mean how do you paint winter,
it’s like a polar bear in a blizzard
I am sure you would agree.
I am left with my words, and
they are innumerable, to be sure
they are tricky as well, each alone,
and it’s only when I step back
that any sense of meaning occurs,
but I’m sure you wouldn’t
understand, coming as you do
from such a visual world, so
in the end, you will just have
to take my words for it.
Louis Faber is a retired Corporate Attorney, College Literature Instructor living in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  His  work has previously appeared in Atlanta Review, Arena Magazine (Australia), Zen Bow, Exquisite Corpse, Rattle, Eureka Literary Magazine, Borderlands: the Texas Poetry Review, Midnight Mind, Pearl, Midstream, European Judaism, The South Carolina Review and Worcester Review and in online publications in China, United Kingdom, Ireland, and India.

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