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Three Poems, by Kathleen Roberts

The Musician

Winter 2010, you crashed the Civic
into a semi during a blizzard.
I met you that summer. You pulled up,
trash bags ruffling in the windows like pennants.

Even walking alone, you always seemed
to have sounds about you, as if it was you
carrying the whir of traffic or
the rustle of leaves, like a halo.

Eventually, I came to think
that without you, the world would fall silent.

I am a drummer. I assign pitch
and rhythm to the day’s small sounds.
I put my feet into the pile of cans
on the passenger floor and wriggle them
playing the music of your wrists, your neck, your eyes,
flicking back and forth in traffic.

You-wake-me-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night Love Song

You’re falling out of bed, dear,
give me your shoulders.
Give me your arms, dear.
Give me your hands
and I will haul you back
up. I couldn’t bear
to see you lying on the carpet
when I awoke.

You’re falling out of bed, dear.
Give me your shins.
Give me your knees and your
ankles and your heels.
Finding you on the floor like this
is one thing, but I can’t
bear to think it was me who let you fall,
watched you roll down,
tumble away.

I wake up early Sunday morning.
I peel your fingers from my stomach
and knead them, sticky,
and rub my thighs, sticky.
I stumble through the house and
take a piss, the same thing
every Sunday. But today, when I
forgot my coat, I came back
and found you by the foot of the bed,
eyes shut, crawling.

You’re falling
out of bed, dear.
Give me your chin.
your nostrils
your teeth.



Wandering lost through
a church basement,

I find them, at last
in a long, empty room.

The oldest sits dead still,
her eyes closed.


I have practiced silence
to solve every problem.

Silence so I will not hate them,
to protect me from their hate.

I feel my eyelids
always twitching, unsettled.


I read the story of the wise men.
The monk that wrote it

called them ‘simple.’
It seemed odd, but the oldest said,

‘you would have to be simple
to run after a star.’


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