MY LAST POEM
It will be about spring.
I will write it in the dead of winter.
It will be dark pink in the middle.
It will be the exact color of magnolia blossoms.
Around its edges, it will be the precise white of wild cherry.
Or it will be the other way around.
This I will decide at the last moment.
A warm breeze will blow gently between the blank spaces.
It will be lifted up to be read.
Then the words will fall, slantwise, from the page into the palm of my hand.
There they will leave a fragrance, at once both familiar and unidentifiable.
No amount of water, nor any of prose, will ever wash it away.
I don’t understand this poem,
Mr. S., she said. Which one?
I said. “The King of Ice Cream”
by Steven Wallace, she said.
Okay, I said. Let’s talk about
“The Emperor of Ice Cream”
by Wallace Stevens, I said.
Know what? I said. What?
she said. I don’t understand
it either, I said. You don’t?
she said. Nope, I said. But
you’re the teacher, she said.
That’s right, I said. I’m
the teacher, so now I’ll
teach you something. Think
of the poem as a conversation
starter. A conversation starter?
Yes, Something that starts
a conversation. What you and I
are doing right now. You mean
having a conversation? That’s
right. But we’re having half
of the conversation. Go home
and have the other half of
the conversation with the poem.
Then come back, and we’ll
continue our conversation.
Okay, she said. She didn’t.
J.R. Solonche has published poetry in more than 300 magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s. He is the author of Beautiful Day (Deerbrook Editions), Won’t Be Long (Deerbrook Editions), Heart’s Content (Five Oaks Press), Invisible (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by Five Oaks Press), The Black Birch (Kelsay Books), I, Emily Dickinson & Other Found Poems (Deerbrook Editions), In Short Order (Kelsay Books), Tomorrow, Today and Yesterday (Deerbrook Editions), True Enough (Dos Madres Press), The Jewish Dancing Master (Ravenna Press), If You Should See Me Walking on the Road (Kelsay Books), In a Public Place (Dos Madres Press), To Say the Least (Dos Madres Press), The Time of Your Life (Adelaide Books), The Porch Poems (Deerbrook Editions), Enjoy Yourself (Serving House Books), Piano Music (Serving House Books), The Moon Is the Capital of the World (forthcoming in October from Word Tech Communications), and coauthor of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). He lives in the Hudson Valley.