Mary Ann Samyn
Gorgeous, and Beautiful, too

Clear sky; stars. I’m living in my father’s city.

Everything has an end except sometimes for some things that are not
           things, like love.

So much waiting. I do Sudoku and listen for the poem.

One day, an old man appears at the end of the street. Is he my father,
           come back?
He looks more like my grandfather, in his fedora.

I have questions no one answers.

I drive along the lake that is only here because glaciers aren’t anymore.
Whatever lesson that is, I don’t want it.

But that’s not a decision anyone gets to make.

The balloon flower blooms for the first time this year.
I clip the spent roses so more will come.

For a good while, my father was alive.




God in the World

Late afternoon, sleepy sky, the grief a click in the jaw,
a tremor along my eyelid.

I’ll take my father back now. Everlasting love,
my hope and my fear.

As he lay dying, his gaze fixed.
All he wanted was nothing we had to give.

Minutes earlier, I had been doing some silly calculation
of my own happiness.

Then, alone with body,
as with a piece of furniture, the cold oak that once lived.

Poetry makes a public record, for someone’s sake.
I was dumb, before and after.





A Perfectly Good Problem

Some anger returns. Some sadness.
Hello and welcome.
I was raised to make the best of it.
My father would give me a wink.
It was easy to be seen then.
Heartbreaking blue most every evening now.
I’ve had this one question so long.
I look for the answer in old photographs of him.
It isn’t there, but I look.
Or in the clouds, like everyone does.
Clouds make the best of the wind.
I’d like to run my finger along their edges,
if they have edges.
In one dream, we sat by side-by-side
as his coffin was lowered into the ground.
Another night he told me I was safe.
We can’t see ourselves ever, really.
What if there isn’t any way to touch?
In the dream, he was wearing a light jacket.


Mary Ann Samyn most recent books include Air, Light, Dust, Shadow, Distance, winner of the 2017 42 Miles Press Prize, and My Life in Heaven, winner of the 2012 FIELD Prize. She’s Professor of English in the MFA program at West Virginia University.