Three poems--"Naysayers," "Based on a True Story," and "After a Storm"--make their appearance in the November 2013 issue of Poem,number 110. The journal has been continuously published since 1967.
BASED ON A TRUE STORY
Year after year the same complexities
plagued him. Riddles were everywhere,
even in his answers, which he almost
believed. He was not immortal,
as he’d earlier wished to be.
His attention waned. Birds built nests
in the gutters, chirped with abandon
and frivolity. Days simply occurred.
The dialogue he had he could never be sure
meant as much to the other as it did to him.
That to which he pledged allegiance
was often erased by the powers that be.
Each morning the newspaper came,
though God had never blessed it,
though it spoke of the failures
a town tries to hide. Every day
was like an elegy, much too long
and with pointless mourning.
Some of his prayers he knew
were contrived, though even these
were ennobling and fierce.
His wife, in the fall, planted mums
near the road, an apology to summer
for the snows on the way. Cars honked.
A squirrel in a tree barked complaint
at a cat. Something like drama
descended on all. Serendipity he loved
most of all, told no one, and wept.
In the end, there were so many fictions.
Jeff Hardin is professor of English at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, TN. He is the author of five collections of poetry, including Fall Sanctuary (Nicholas Roerich Prize, 2004), Notes for a Praise Book (Jacar Press, 2013), Restoring the Narrative (Donald Justice Poetry Prize, 2015), Small Revolution, and No Other Kind of World (X. J. Kennedy Prize, 2017). His sixth collection, A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being, is forthcoming in 2019.