Two Poems

by Geoff Munsterman


Floating books tapped my hip like a dog’s nose the night
father spat on the library and the whole thing flooded.
I would have drowned. I would have sunk like a flashlight
left wandering in the water but brother yanked my hand

before the surge's lips sucked me in. No use convincing
the water: something larger than Louisiana, larger than
Belle Chasse, larger than the row of churches left wincing
after the first surge, larger than the life-vests in my hand

that father gave me, told me not to lose and that I was stupid
when I had lost them, refused to look at me, talk to me,
wouldn’t even spit on me. Even when I begged, pleaded
for that bullet tasting just as sweet as fresh wildflower honey.

Then came his hand. And anyone who survived it knows
it was God I dangled under, his skinny-kid elbows.

Heart Ghazal

A whitetail deer stared, eyes weighting the heart
the night a truck swerved, fear striating the heart.

First brush with death: the freight truck crash;
God showed me his way of negating the heart.

Just nine years old when the doctors diagnosed my
Father’s rheumatic fever, a sore throat fating the heart.

Some folks wash their hands clean where they drink.
They shake water white, ripples reverberating the heart.

I jogged down the dusty path, body desperate to fly,
but fell gasping. My chest pounded, gating the heart.

They pounded on his chest in the waiting room
where he collapsed, gloved fists berating the heart.

When they called my mother, she knew he was gone.
But the doctor dangled slightest chance, baiting the heart.

I have come home on a train coursing tracks
old wood and iron, each horn blare translating the heart.

Just two lines Geoffrey, just two lines. Get them out,
they’re doing nothing, but—write it!—medicating the heart.