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Stan Sanvel Rubin

Stan Sanvel Rubin lives on the north Olympic Peninsula of Washington. His poems have appeared in magazines such as Agni, Georgia Review, One, Hole in the Head Review, Tar River Poetry, Poetry Northwest and others, as well as anthologies, including Moving Images: Poems on Film (2021) and the Nautilus award winning, For Love of Orcas (2019). His four full-length collections include There. Here. (Lost Horse Press) and Hidden Sequel (Barrow Street Book Prize).

Listening to Yo-Yo Ma

Can anything be lonelier
than a cello in the late afternoon

breathing and bleeding
like a living thing?

The sky ladles
a last spoonful of sun

through the gray burr of clouds
like a grace note.

Weather like this
is a fate you can’t prevent

the way I want to prevent
so much

sadness, pain
that hurts myself and others.

Sorrows arrange themselves
inside your head like bad weather,

notes of a secret score
that plays you.

I can’t read it.
I don’t know the key.

So easily everything changes.
Inside the music,

hate becomes love,
love becomes loss.

Remember the rhythm
of favorite poems.

Remember animal sounds
that make the world real.

On Our Last Anniversary Together,
I Surprise You with a Rafting Trip

The madman steered us down the Colorado River
as if he had someplace else to go
after he disposed of us,

our bodies to be found lying on the banks
like an offering to invisible gods
who used to live here,

but it is the endless current
I remember that drove the raft,
spinning wildly past rocks

he pushed us from at the last second
with his long pole.
How we failed to capsize

I’ll never know.
How we failed to cling
to each other, even then.
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