“At 40 His Wife Begins to Write Poems” by John Guzlowski

At 40 His Wife Begins to Write Poems

Each night, they come to her in dreams,
and when she can’t listen anymore,
she wakes and writes in darkness,
the shadows from the street falling
through the blinds and onto the paper,
like whispers.

She feels her husband beside her,
sleeping in a world without dreams,
or horizons, a beached whale, all breath
and cold flesh. When she reads her poems
to him in the morning kitchen, he’s puzzled,
frightened. Don’t worry, she says, I love you
more than anything.

She dreams one night she is driving
in the desert, wind moving through the air
like lean snakes. Hungry, she stops
near a gray shed. Sees the bones
of three angels lying on a table,
and urinates into a tub
filled with photos. In the corner
her mother stands in red stockings,
her feet swollen like salmon,
her tongue adrift in a dark sea,
her lips shaping sighs, maybe questions,
each one as different as blue
and yellow.

When she wakes, the lines are scrimshaw,
circles flattening under the weight
of triangles, gashes, red birds in trees.
Her husband puts down his coffee,
searches her eyes. She knows
what all of it means.

Digital StillCamera

John Guzlowski’s writing has appeared in Garrison Keillor’s Writers’ Almanac, The Ontario Review, Chattahoochie Review, Exquisite Corpse, Modern Fiction Studies and other journals both here and abroad–many of which are now defunct. His poems about his parents’ experiences in Nazi concentration camps appear in his book Lightning and Ashes. He blogs about his parents and their experiences at http://lightning-and-ashes.blogspot.com/

2 thoughts on ““At 40 His Wife Begins to Write Poems” by John Guzlowski

  1. annna says:


  2. henryk C. says:

    Imaginative, inspiring pure poetry!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s