Spring and All

posted Jun 29, 2010

A lisp of ocean air
Far from the coast

Like a thought without substance

So many bartenders
Named Chris or Rick

Mostly they look the same

I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup
Wendy Pilling confessed

While Dick said
They found my college ID

Missing for 20 years

At the scene of the kidnapping
On Ariana Street—

I said, are you people crazy


A snow fence
Half its teeth missing

Bordering the sand of Perch Lake
At the sunny end of Prospect

Where the marina operators
Don’t seem to have returned

From Florida. Marcus
Pulled on a Marlboro

Declared, I’ll never vote
For a Christian again

And Mrs. Cato ruminated:
I loved him for 6 months

When he was 20 (he told me),
I was 32—

I didn’t understand he was younger

Randy Smits scratched his chin
Spit at a nugget of asphalt in sand


After-all, Martin Luther
Enjoyed his beer

Crunched cans. Whine of the yellow

Big John Rabideau was the sheriff

He punched me once in the kidneys

Marcus bent to tie a shoelace

Wendy Pilling rolled her eyes


After a poor night of sleep
I forgot everything I had left to do

Said Colin.
Some people idealize

Their situations. Not me.
Victorian hearts reverberating

In the wrought-iron railing,
Some up, some down

An older woman leaves the house
Pulling a black terrier on a leash

Unlocks the gate. A kind of false hope
Said Dick


A double line down the center

Of the boulevard
Leading back to the courthouse

To which all roads lead

Robert VanderMolen is the author of Water, Breath, Night Weather, and Of Pines. He lives and works in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

We’ve published four more poems by VanderMolen: “The Confession,” “The Joke,” “After Lunch,” and “After The Party.”