Robert Fillman

Summer Ending
after Edward Hopper
Under a dull orb of porch light, they stand
motionless. The moon rises like a skull,
and they’re desperate for sound, a twig snap
or small leaf rustling, anything. He thought
he’d won her, balanced his job all summer,
fishing on the lake, kept her simmering
like a boiling pan. She leans on the wall,
her pink halter top concealing little,
her legs, long and smooth like the white clapboard.
In his dark blue shirt-sleeves, hand on his heart,
he wouldn’t dare drape the other across
her bare upper arm, at least not tonight.
But he would love to slip fingers through her
hair. He imagined the way he’d trail them,
as if a slack hand rippling the water's
shimmery surface. She’d take off her top
and skirt, beckon him into the night air.
d undress, follow. But their eyes never
meet. She’s lost, turning away, seeming to
look beyond the soles of her tennis shoes,
into the future, into the dry grain
of her stiffened heart. The closed door, a small
gap in the curtains, people in the house
probably sleeping, inches between them,
summer is ending on her parents’ porch.
But they are silent, unable to move,
afraid to take even a single breath.  

Hunting Season

Day after Thanksgiving, our stomachs
not yet settled from all the turkey
and ham, we’d get our coloring books.
Dad would be packing his gear, an old
sleeping bag, blankets, and beer, his blaze
orange hunting jacket, Mom slicing  
onion and turkey for sandwiches
in the kitchen. We’d listen to her  
crinkle wax paper before filling    
his Thermos with coffee for the long
drive. My brothers and I would just sit
on the couch, blue light of the TV
flashing raw resentment. That’s when Dad
would tiptoe into the parlor, kiss
our foreheads and disappear. What he
said (if anything) we didn’t hear,
our bodies barely shifting, like logs
in a fire that had already gone cold.

Robert Fillman was a winner in Third Wednesday’s 2017 annual poetry contest. In 2016, he won the poetry contest at the Pennsylvania Writers Conference. Recently, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cider Press Review, The Hollins Critic, Poet Lore, Salamander, Tar River Poetry, and others. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate and Senior Teaching Fellow at Lehigh University. He lives in eastern Pennsylvania with his wife, Melissa, and their two children, Emma and Robbie.



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