Robert Lietz



     The coffee's gone, though you can sip the ends of it, 
with errands to run, while these two, camouflaged, 
in their pick-up, wraps, into this sub-zero wind-chill, search 
the solid under them     — muzzle-loaders, I suppose — 
seeking some news in tracks I had not thought seasonable, 
and, orange-capped, owning this tree-stripped cut 
two like themselves, I think, could squeeze a Hummer through, 
considering breakfasts yet, or letting some thoughts 
of supper work their ways on their good fortune, of some 
front-loader say, still the only way to keep hill homes 
accessible, warmed by the magic, by the gridiron playoffs, 
by night fires nights you can't clear lanes by shovels-full, 
where there shall be Mall marts afterward, cut-rate 
materials, and structures raised among these more or less 
surprises, authentic, revenant, so that, however tenuous, 
their sleights prove actual, with rewards, as they perceive, 
reasoning hands of thanks, and conspirators, reduced 
by paradox, approaches they know they'll after all agree on, 
ascending these icy routes, where scents of bouquets, 
impossibly real, or so, six hours ago, you trusted, leave you, 
returning, not so sure, where this peach eye-sore's 
your first landmark and mystery, with the plants, bills done 
this last of January, as if such dailiness could be dismissed 
with tracking numbers, or by this younger colleague, 
swapping shop at the post-counter, by your parts 
all told, on this lightly trafficked Saturday 
you cannot transmogrify     by your 
         or diminish.


     Juneau, Nome, and this motel you can see 
straight through at seventy, 
as empty as Bush radio, and deep, where the river's 
iced across, thinnest 
where it's most predictable, here, where 
the model homes 
sit unannounced, kept warm for the winter visitors,
unable themselves to pause, 
on course for Wooster or Jeromesville, since 
this will be colder yet, 
and — if you mind the facts — a matter 
of flames 
and flaking curls,    of a night 
in earnest, 
as the joggers may 

Robert Lietz's poems have appeared in a great number of journals, both print and online, and eight collections of poems have been published.
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