David M. Harris – 3 POEMS


for Stanley Weinberger

Here I stand, the cantor sobs.

One word touches me, the rest moving air

throbbing over sense, beyond my head,

it falls and rises.

He passes through the people gathered

for this one day. His audience is not there;

today he speaks only to God. At this moment

he stands alone before the flame.

His voice betrays his years, but faith

has perfect pitch, no tremolo

when he stands before God for his people, for us.

No matter what we believe. He believes for us.

After this prayer I will leave, my small

cup of atheistic faith warm for now,

filled by the voice with aspiration,

filled by the voice almost to belief.

He leads us beyond ourselves, tempting us

to atonement and righteousness,

sings to God for us and prays

for the small miracle of faith.

(originally published in The Review Mirror)


The Office of Breakfast

It’s Saturday, my day for flour, a splash

of oil, vanilla, all in order, honey, one homegrown

egg, and milk until it looks right. I stir with a fork–

always a fork–and make tea while the skillet heats.

Baking powder and sometimes fruit come last.

Not too much milk, not too much

heat. Not too long in the skillet.

I pour batter, sip the tea, wait and flip,

wait and lift, into the oven and pour

another. I’ve learned control.

My daughter, under firm instruction,

slouches up the stairs to rouse her mother

with filial promises of tea and breakfast

I greet the family with jam and syrup.

This day begins in peace with everyone at table

sharing the grace of griddle cakes.

(originally published in The Review Mirror, my collection, September 2013)


Still Life

One broken flower pot,

Broken neatly, two clean pieces laid together.

It might have fallen apart just now, spontaneously,

Except things do not fall apart like that.

Not even things as fragile as a terra cotta pot.

One torn, discarded pair of leather work gloves.

The hands that once needed their protection

Need it no longer, or the gloves no longer serve.

One concrete planter.

The geranium is red–no, not red but fuchsia–

The pansies two shades, dark and light,

Of a purple that edges toward blue.

I learned to see colors from Kate.

She could see a color

Match it from memory.

This was important to her.

One large crack in the stone slab

on which everything else rested.

(originally published in Mphasis, Sept. 2002)

Until 2003, David M. Harris had never lived more than fifty miles from New York City. Since then he has moved to Tennessee, married, acquired a daughter and a classic MG, and gotten serious about poetry. All these projects seem to be working out pretty well. His work has appeared in Pirene’s Fountain (and in the Best of Pirene’s Fountain anthology), Gargoyle, The Labletter, The Pedestal, and other places. His first collection of poetry, The Review Mirror, was published by Unsolicited Press in September, 2013. On Sunday mornings, at 11 AM Central time, he talks about poetry on WRFN-LP in Pasquo, TN (www.radiofreenashville.org).

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