By Fred Pollack

Partly it was how he talked

or could have. They might have called it “stilted,”

“snooty,” but their emotions

and judgments occur in the space between words,

that void profound and true. And partly

it was his quality

of inattention, lacking the excuse

of a text or call (“Sorry – I’ve got to take this”),

which may have been covert and private judgment,

or shyness grown into something darker …

In any case he would have been disliked

had someone been around to dislike him.

Insert somewhere the image of antiques

in a big former barn beside

some otherwise pointless road.

To youth they seem so tedious, to age 

a delight: that halo, shared by such disparate objects,

which comes from lack of context.

He spent his days in mourning for himself,

then, self-disgusted, seeking

other figures to mourn. They were so far away

that by the time he reached them he had

become them. Then they too saw

their lives not with the old

intensity (the intensities of others

seem always strained) but as if

through the wrong end of a telescope:

aestheticized, miniaturized, rid

of any passion but the void;

wearing as I’ve said a kind of halo,

antiphonal to his “So that was me.”

Fred Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both Story Line Press; the former to be reissued by Red Hen Press. Two collections of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS, (Prolific Press, 2015) and LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Pollack has appeared in Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Magma (UK), Bateau, Fulcrum, Chiron Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, etc. 

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