Jason Irwin

for Scott 

It's the middle of night.
You wake for a glass of water,
or maybe whiskey
to calm your nerves, after 
a hard week of work.
There’s a knock at the back door.
Not loud, but steady. 
You don't open it, or even look
through the curtains, afraid
it might be your best friend from high school, 
the one who died on that stretch 
of country road beyond town, 
where you learned 
the ways of men. 

Maybe it's a group of refugees
from some faraway land you could never
locate on a map. 
Maybe they're surrounding your house,
looking in all the windows, searching
for their happy ending. 
Maybe they look like those old newsreels
of immigrants crowded in boats
like rats, with that look in their eyes:
sullen, yet astonished after weeks at sea. 

It's the middle of night.
You wake for water, an antacid tablet,
or simply to look at your books. 
You stand proud—marveling at your collection 
of Latin American Surrealists, your tomes 
on economics, religion and how 
things should be—the way your mother stood
after polishing the silverware.
Maybe you just feel the need to see it all
in its place, knowing it's yours.

Jason Irwin's first book of poems, Watering the Dead, won the 2006/2007 Transcontinental Poetry Award and will come out from Pavement Saw Press this spring.  His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Confrontation, The Sycamore Review, Blue Collar Review, Miller's Pond, Pearl, and elsewhere.



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