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3 Poems, by Luke Powers

Ghost


This house isn't haunted
It's not old enough

Vintage suburban open
Floor plan twostory brick

A pair of stairwells
Ghosts might haunt

One that even curves
But nothing paranormal--

There's only one ghost I know 
And he doesn't live here

Died six years ago--
Has it been six years?

But I can feel him sometimes
When I'm in the car alone

Undulating with the road
Past the horse farms

Houses hidden by the trees
"So beautiful," he would say

The trees, the houses,
It was hard to know

From a man not given
To aesthetic considerations

In his condition 
He could not drive

His vocabulary narrowed
But not his point of view

I ride these same roads now
Not entirely alone

And say aloud, for him,
For me, so beautiful--

_______________________


The Perseids


The Perseids will be
Visible tonight

If your sky is
As clear as mine--

They'll look like 
The sparklers

We played with
As kids running in

Zigzag streaks 
Across the backyard

Each one of us
A comet---

If your sky
Is as clear as mine

You'll hear children's
Voices curling to

The Doppler effect
As each one shoots

Toward outer darkness--

If your 
Sky is as clear 
As mine

You may even see
That fleeting face

Halflit with mischief
And sulfur

As I see yours
Aged nine or ten

When like the sons
And daughters of


Father Perseus we
Too were immortal

In the slow myth of
The summer night

_______________________


World Book


The World Book Encyclopedia 
Was the mainstay of 
Our family library

Given a place of prominence
On those handmade 
Cherry cabinets in the den

With cream and olive 
Almost leather covers
It was "Knowledge"
As determined by 
editors and authorities 
And sold to us by 
A licensed distributor

Dad loved to sit
On the beanbag chair
And peruse, say,
The "D" volume
Or the first book of "S"
The way a pioneer ancestor 
Might have thumbed
Through Second Samuel
Or Ecclesiastes

Barely sentient of 
The clamor and drama
Of "Gunsmoke" or
"All in the Family"
Dad carefully lifted
The pages like a 
Buddhist monk in
In fierce meditation

Getting lost in the
Amazon of information--
Stated in neoclassical
Restraint: sentences as
Regular as Greek columns,
Paragraphs as solid 
As the Parthenon,
No filigree of footnotes 
And extraneous illustration.


These volumes were 
To be read--they were
Grooved through with 
A Britannical aplomb
That everything in the world 
That is 
Could be explained in 
The World Book Encyclopedia

And that, as much as 
Jesus,
God the Father and his Ghost,
Sunday school, even his
Beloved green and red hymnals,
Was a profound comfort.

art by Mayme

art by Mayme

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