Robbie Gamble’s poems have appeared in the Atlanta Review, Lunch Ticket, RHINO, Slipstream, and Rust + Moth. He was the winner of the 2017 Carve Poetry prize. He worked for many years as a nurse practitioner caring for homeless people, and now divides his time between Boston and Vermont.
Nocturne on a Bed of Couscous
Years ago, a tornado swelled
one dawn and nicked into a corner
of a quiet suburb, uprooting a tree
and flinging it through the bedroom
of the parents of my friend, killing
her mother instantly, while her father
lay in bed unscathed next to his spouse.
Tonight, we will soon turn in, aware
that twenty-two untethered tons
of rocket booster are predicted to slam
somewhere into the planet before sunrise.
Odds are unlikely that Anna
would predecease me for any reason
on this night, that I would awake
a widower. Even more infinitesimal
that a glowing chunk of space debris
would punch through our ridge beam
to take one or both of us out
in a sizzle of headboard and linens.
We had such a lovely dinner this evening:
duck breast and oyster mushrooms
and sweet new asparagus, yet
what is this rise of bile now
in the wake of such delightful
forkfuls, in the moment the beast
shudders, tumbles off its perigee?