poem for tim calhoun

it’s sunday
and the sun rolls down
over coventry
squeezing out
all the air
and you don’t know
what sunday means
and you don’t feel the heat
and you aren’t sitting
in the coffeehouse
playing chess
or in your apartment
over turkey ridge
or at the basketball game
with your boys
or riding your bicycle across town
or reading baudelaire aloud
in the park to me
and you don’t answer your phone
and you don’t have a number
and you don’t tell me what’s wrong
with my poems anymore
and you don’t tell me what’s right
and i can’t reach you
where all your chessmen
have lain down
and given up the fight
where only your books wait
for your boys to grow old
where the basketball continues
without you
and baudelaire lies silent
in the binding
and i can’t walk down this street
without looking for you
i tell myself
you don’t exist anymore
the chess players go on
without you
but the game means nothing
to me

wendy shaffer


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