Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Leonard Gontarek: Year


It is a ship sinking with its hold of spices

and crew of ghosts. A young boy is picking

a flower with a mysterious name and scent he will carry

for years to come. A windowpane drifts over the print of the living

room rug. There is a woman, my sister, lying in

a hospital bed. Since it is All Hallows, I put a

mask on her and take her picture. I rub the leaves

and smell my hands. I have crushed them. They were

fragile and paper-like, yellowed and foxed

like an old book. I drank in their odor like water from a

clear creek. The following morning, water had a trace

of chemical. I could see my face in branches everywhere.

Black steeple and the bells rang. A snowfall of petals.


We placed a crown of flowers on the Virgin Mary’s head.

We brought our daughters and sons home in boxes lined with velvet.

When we had only enough to eat for ourselves or our cat,

we fed the cat, then begged for food for the cat.


The word God was in our mouth like a lozenge.

Our arms ached. Our hearts ached.

copyright 2015 Leonard Gontarek



— Queensboro Bridge (NYC Municipal Archives)

One comment on “Leonard Gontarek: Year

  1. Ditta Baron Hoeber
    October 4, 2017

    thanks leonard

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on May 12, 2015 by in Poetry and tagged , , , , .

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