Martin Willitts Jr is a retired librarian. He has over 20 chapbooks, plus 11 full-length collections, has 14 Pushcart nominations and 11 Best of the Net nominations. His most recent poetry books include chapbooks “Late All Night Sessions with Charlie “the Bird” Parker and the Members of Birdland, in Take-Three” (A Kind Of a Hurricane Press, 2015), and “The Burnt-Over District” (e-book, Icarus Books, 2015), plus full-length collection God Is Not Amused with What You Are Doing in Her Name” (Aldrich Press, 2015).
What We See
There is a risk in writing about a teddy bear,
but my son’s traveled everywhere in mischief.
His bear was restless. Once
it overstayed at a motel and we turned back to get it.
Another time it sought shelter from a hailstorm.
It propped itself up in the cedars, scanning
the wide area, and warned of approaching danger.
Another time it was quiet as a boulder,
when adults came near, it pretended to be stuffed —
it knew adults never believed in imagination
and were never present in the Present, but always
in the future with their impossible schedules to meet.
I caught it once reading a map trying to find out
where it belonged. I insisted, “You belonged here
where you are needed and loved best of all.”
It turned its brown eyes to me, almost trusting me,
but knowing truth like it knew sadness and pain:
“He will grow old; he won’t need me then.”
I offered, “Then enjoy the time you have together.”
I wished I had listened to my own advice;
my son did in fact grow older, and left us both behind.
All children do. I cannot find where the bear went.
I wonder how it is doing, if it found another child,
or if it is hitchhiking searching for my son like I am.
If I ever find that bear, I’d tell it the other truth:
I am the one who also has that empty need.
Life has a bad habit of closing the map too early.
That bear saw better with its brown shiny eyes than I do.
The Point of a Sale
I am sure
I watched the ad
so my question is
if I buy this car
does the hot blond
come with it
Room in Brooklyn
Based on the painting by Edward Hooper, 1932
A woman sits unmoving in a rocking chair staring out
towards the monotonous row buildings. Her room
is decorated with stillness. The air is wallpaper.
She does not watch the streets below, nor the warm light
trying to rustle the deaden air, nor the bouquet
of days old flowers struggling for attention.
She does not feel the highlight on the back of her neck
like a lost lover who never kissed there, nor the hugs
from melancholy or contentment.
There is no room in Brooklyn for any of this.
Just motionlessness, not necessarily tranquil