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Poetry

Marc Swan

Swan

Marc Swan is a retired vocational rehabilitation counselor. His poems have recently been published or forthcoming in Scrivener Creative Review, Clover, The Broadkill Review, Coal City Review, Gargoyle, Midwest Quarterly, Nuclear Impact Anthology, among others. He lives with his wife Dd in Portland Maine.

Appetite

                                                  for Alex

You get the diagnosis, not words you want to hear,
but truth based on all those tests, those conversations
beating holes in the fabric of your mind. This time
there are choices, so you think about it. Then you think
about timeframe, hours strapped to an IV, pain, suffering,
hair loss, not so much, but appetite, food choices. You think
of those things you love to eat and drink and how many
more days you can eat or drink those things: red wine most
of the time, rose or chardonnay on those hot summer nights,
salads with fresh fruits and greens, St. Agur blue cheese,
and indulgences— potato chips and onion dip, occasionally,
guacamole and those blue corn chips you’ve grown fond of,
and deserts, not regular fare, but a mile-high banana cream
pie can get you somewhere. You look at the calendar, count
the days, maybe weeks, think of time moving thru space
faster than a dervish whirling in the wind. Do the lights
in the kitchen stay on? Or maybe there’s another way.

When the world seems endless

After work on a cold December night in Findlay in ‘69
in Barry’s living room a block from where we live, after
a few bottles of Stroh’s, into the second bottle of Almaden
Mountain Red, after smoking a few pipes of hash, toking
some tightly rolled sinsemilla, after Lisa takes off her top
to display her lactating breasts and Kris says I don’t think
I’m ready for this, or for much else, after a year in Mexico
and the revolution that drove us north, after settling
in Syracuse working for a tire company, after transferring
to a job in the home office in Ohio, after the music cranks
from Sergeant Pepper, Lou Reed, and for my soon-to-be
ex-wife Kris, Otis Redding, the tempo slows, lights turn low,
I’m drawn to the door, no coat or hat, just cold and snow
and a walk through dimly lighted streets of this quiet college
town on winter break, wind picking up, a full moon casting
shadows off the eaves of those clapboard houses lining Lima
Street as I wander downtown to the Mecca with the oldest
bar east of the Mississippi, now burned to the ground,
but then it was a beacon on a wintry night for a cold beer,
warm conversation, a respite before the oncoming storm.

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