Apr/May 2012 Poetry Special Feature

Two Word Poems

by Ray Templeton

A Star Until It Moves

Seven passed above since nightfall,
each a smear of yellow, traced on blank dark,
trailing a roar, time-lagged and muted.

House-lights behind, a coat of shadow
shed on the trodden grass,
you cross a forbidden boundary

into those dimmed and drowsing lights,
into someone else's journey: another's
necessary footprint on the sky.

To travel on and end
only in some terminal sargasso of the air,
the metal carcasses clustered,

rusted, floating in thick space
where skeleton crews and voyagers
send out futile messages,

recurrent signals down the years—
an heirloom of tape-loops
and replicated voices,

relayed back to those who're left,
to catch, or overhear
along the road, where they'll be walking.


About To Cross

At the cemetery gate, a stone-grey head
on monumental shoulders, in charity shop chic:
he's hovering, calculating time and distance.

Yes—a double-room, but where and when?

You think he'd go in, but it's a step too far.
Between here and the fresh-turned earth:
a boundary, uncrossable as a wired cattle-fence.

A restaurant, a bottle; and a manuscript?

The wind bends branches, stirs the dust
and paper, bits of fabric, broken discs,
random-access heirlooms of the city.

Twenty-seven? Twenty-eight? How many years? Who else was there?

Recent disappearances obscure the picture.
To step inside's forbidden, or to move away,
and soon it'll be dark. Each lair now dimmed

to rough outline, as grit and litter lifts.
A newspaper blown, traps tight against the fence:
the headline's hidden, but the date is yesterday's.


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