Poem Composed Entirely with Last Lines in Christian Wiman Poems
James Valvis

cry of warning
the intimate distance that it speaks

and though it’s way too late to make it home
pain like a breeze goes through me as if it could

nowhere to be but gone
and just like that it vanished

deep in those leaves
this field, this sky, this tree

their likenesses cling
and nothing stays

even the strongest of them end
falls from them as a star

children become their cries
wailing as one for what the child must learn

again, again, again

~

Staying
after Roethke

Learn to stay where you have to stay.
My father left when I was two.
Anyone can just walk away
before a kid learns to tie his shoe.

My father left when I was two.
There isn’t much to say
before a kid learns to tie his shoe.
Nice knowing you. Have a nice day.

There isn’t much to say
when it’s just your mother and you.
Nice knowing you. Have a nice day?
There isn’t much, so learn to chew.

When it’s just your mother and you,
there isn’t much to do or play.
There isn’t much, so learn to chew.
There isn’t much to say.

There isn’t much to do or play.
No child of mine will need ask who.
There isn’t much to say
when people are counting on you.

No child of mine will need ask who.
Anyone can just walk away.
When people are counting on you,
learn to stay where you have to stay.



James Valvis lives in Issaquah, Washington. His poems or stories have appeared in Rattle, Eclectica, Pearl, Slipstream, and elsewhere. A collection of his poems is due from Aortic Books in 2011.



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