Josh Luckenbach: “Trying to Let Things Be as They Are”




The groundhog walks a little patch of yard,
eating dandelions gone to seed,

biting, each time, the whole stem from the ground,
while inside, the cat stands upright on his hind

legs and stretches long to perch his front
paws on the sill, tail slapping the plastic plant

in its wicker basket over and over, ticking, polyrhythmic,
sometimes on, sometimes off-beat with the clock,

bequeathing dawn this rare measure as if it were
occurring alongside rather than after

all the other ungrateful mornings, time
augmenting and diminishing as it did in last night’s dream

in which the small bright spot that shone on your heart
on the sonogram at twenty weeks turned out

to be a door to all the other names and lives I might’ve had,
inheriting always something from my dad

and from his parents and theirs, people I never met
or heard of whose influence I can only guess at,

confined as I am to the present, to this knowing, this life
where I catch myself again mouthing what if

the tabby hissing now through the paned glass
at the woodchuck unbothered, busy in the grass.



Recent work by Josh Luckenbach has appeared or is forthcoming in Southern Review, Shenandoah, Nimrod, Birmingham Poetry Review, New Ohio Review, Nashville Review, and elsewhere. He serves as Managing Editor for Iron Horse Literary Review.

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