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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Jan. 13, 2016

January 16, 2016

1954

Claudia Serea

In 1954, hands in his pockets,
Frank O’Hara was walking at noon
on the glaring New York City streets,
thinking of poems
and lunch.

At 7 p.m., the sun was still strong in Romania.
My father was 14 at the time,
and plowed his father’s land, hard as concrete,
with a horse blind in one eye,
thinking, no doubt, about poems
and dinner.

On 5th Avenue, O’Hara stopped,
lit a cigarette,
breathed in the smoke,
and looked at the sky.

My father stopped and smoked, too,
maybe even at the same time,
inhaled, exhaled,
and looked at the same sky.

Yes, they were young,
skinny, and thoughtful,
and didn’t know each other,

but I imagine them sharing
the gestures of lighting up,
tight lips holding the cigarette,
the flicker, the blue breath,
the crust of the earth,
the sun.

67 years later,
I’m reading the Lunch Poems on the bus
and think of the lives of these two men,
each one caught in his own
grinding machine.

And a rabbit runs
from the field in Romania
into a bar in New York City,

foolish enough to believe
it can escape.

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