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Saturday, March 12, 2022


by John Minczeski

"poetry makes nothing happen"

Some nights, like this one, something  
thuds against the house, a tennis ball or branch  
from the shrub below our bedroom window.  
Poetry makes nothing happen.  
I mean, we lie awake   
as a bitter wind slashes at the house.   
We have no need to shelter in a mosque or subway,   
but still my heart aches. Poetry makes nothing   
happen. It could be a deer  
that got into fermented crabapples.  
It could be a deer gnawing the shrub  
below the window. Some windows  
crack from the cold. Some explode.  
Poetry makes nothing happen  
and life goes on as if there’s no bounty  
on our ordinary world. Remember when the oracle  
said a great general would win the battle?   
The moon continues its unhurried changes  
as it has in the small forever of my life.  
It makes nothing happen, poetry. Skin cracks  
in the cold, like a tax on breathing.  
Stepping inside to instant warmth  
from the wind, we tell each other  
what we already know about brutality   
and winter. Once again poetry has made   
nothing happen. People go on dying daily  

John Minczeski is the author of A Letter to Serafin and other collections. Recent poems have appeared in Tampa Review, The New Yorker, Harvard Review, Cider Press Review, Bear Review, North Dakota Review, and elsewhere.