Tuesday, April 10, 2012

two poems by paul hlava

Gloria Moves In

The woman I live with eats
in our bed.  She leaves crumbs
beside her plate, an apple core
on the couch in the living room.
Everyday I find myself
picking up bread crusts,
carrot shavings, wiping clean
the rings on the countertop.
When I am finished eating
I wipe the table onto my plate.
I wash each dish in the sink.
I save the leftovers, even the bookends
of the loaf of rye.  I put magazines
back in the wicker basket
by the door.  I hang the winter coats
draped on the bedframe.  I turn off
the light when I leave the room.
My days are a series of impersonal tasks.
Everything I open I close.


Gloria’s Shrug

I built a room of her silence.
Inside I was alone.
The multi-colored macaws
that flapped above the rafters
were a florescent lightbulb
that burnt out when I looked up.
I imagined a birthday cake
and built a table to hold it.
I filled her bookshelves with
the records I loved.
I taped photos of myself
inside the picture frames.
Plastic shutters blocked the sunlight.
The past vibrated in the floor.
Who was I to know anyone,
a stranger to myself?
Mice chewed the cuffs of my pants
as I dug through a dream
with the femur of a cow.
Inside I was alone.  The creases
were wet from their thin black lips.
I pinned my silhouette against the wall.

A graduate of NYU’s creative writing program, Paul Hlava has been published in Gulf Coast, Agriculture Reader, Rattle, Juked, Paperbag Magazine, among others.  He is a grammar teacher and poet living in Brooklyn.

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