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man sitting on park bench

Poem: An Apology for Vivian

Joseph Michael Fino


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I am afraid, Vivian,
that my words
will find themselves alone,
shivering cold on a park bench
as evening slows,
solemnly draped over the brownstones
and the parking meters
and over you, Vivian.

I am afraid that poetry
pays only the airy show:
condensed breath firstly warm,
thinning finely into evening’s hollow cold.
Going unnoticed to the passers-by,
does it go so to you, Vivian?

I have seen your little body
fraying in the wind of its cancer.
I had hoped,
I had tasked my words to mend you, but,

Vivian, I am afraid
that poetry arrives impotent,
or, it seems, not at all –
having lost itself in a metaphor,
on a park bench,
cold, somnolent
and unemployed.

Contributed By Joseph Michael Fino

A member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Brother Joseph Michael Fino lives in the South Bronx in New York City.