Two Poems by Don Barkin

(Johann Siemens/Unsplash)



Not being here, he can’t see
this inky portrait of a tree,
much less the tree against the sky
which is the limit of the eye,

reminding us that the cost
of Paradise is that it’s lost.
While Heaven fitted in a puddle
like a ship is His rebuttal.



We shrug at shade like wind or fog, though in autumn
gusts of paper-shuffling in lofty offices
will roil a lawn like God’s face on the waters.
True, these don’t shake the thrones of thickened things —
a banker’s manse sprawled on its throne of lawn,
where heavy elms warn lovers to move on.
They’ll fall in time the way all despots fall:
first the midget in his braided tunic,
then his statue toppled with a rope.
And though we’d rather have an apple than
the apple’s shadow, it’s not wrong to think
how clouds as vast as ranches sadden Kansas.

Published in the July/August 2021 issue: 

Don Barkin has published poems in Poetry, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry Northwest, Commonweal, Prairie Schooner, and other magazines. He is the author of three full-length books of poems, That Dark Lake (2009), Houses (2017), and The Rail Stop at Wassaic (2020).

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