Amy Gerstler




Dear Departed,


Five ice-glazed trees keeled over

today. Did that racket disturb your

permanent faint? Sorry our pale

ministrations failed. Does mud hold

grudges? Don’t overthink your response,

once upright, diffident citizen. May we

address you directly? Can you tell if

you’re open or closed? Did god uncork

your mouth, roll a boulder from your

yawn? What’s the moment of rising like?

Did earth melt you down and chug you

like fortified wine? Thought or said,

your name sparks painful cravings lately:

to lick your pearl cufflinks, or singe

one’s fingers on that scalp sized brush-

fire formerly known as your hair. One

careless doctor cannot sunder us, buddy.

Tomorrow’s existence feels borrowed,

or bought with your dregs. Dumb as your

exit struck us, we bask in every mention

of your dispersed, weedy-meadow

self, perfected friend gone elemental.




Handwriting Exersize


I am sitting before a lovely wood fire eating sweet apples.

We are more upset about this matter than we can say.

I shall be extremely glad to see you again when the trees are green and the birds have returned.

Though you have grown stout and grey and will have forgotten me entirely, still you haunt my solitary morning walks and pre-sleep thoughts from time to time.

He has a red birthmark on the back of his head, under all that dark hair. It looks like a small inflamed map of Brazil, home to 700 species of butterflies.

Oh no! you ought not to do that ever again.

I find no small delight in rearing all sorts of poultry: geese, turkeys, pullets, and ducklings.

I did not want that fact revealed in public.

In this thick wood one does not feel the cold even in early winter.

I should rather have my brain burst than any pain or harm come to you.

Calling the birds and flowers by name I have paid my respects to all them all.

Since the death of her son she has ceased to speak.

I am smitten with a finch I have purchased.

During years of convalescence in childhood after being run over by a butcher truck he read profusely.

In this strange exile, we have nothing to drink but the best champagne in the world.

He broke his molar on a piece of buckshot lodged in the roasted duck leg he was gnawing.

Today I have learned that thoughts of war and death have no place in these beautiful hills.


Come, let us sing.