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Wednesday
Nov032010

George Bishop

George Bishop was raised on the Jersey Shore before moving to Florida where he lives and writes. Recent work has appeared in Philadelphia Stories, Evening Red Press and Prick of the Spindle. Forthcoming work will be featured in Grey Sparrow Journal. His chapbook, Love Scenes, is available from Finishing Line Press and new chapbook, Marriage Vows and Other Lies, has been released by Flutter Press.

 

Schedules

 

Each day the old man,

crooked cane and good leg leading,

winds up and down the streets

of our small, broken town—

odd size lots, roads ending

then beginning again

blocks away.

 

And each day,

sitting here waiting for the same bus,

I wonder if the rest of his day falls

into this same pattern as he waves

to everyone without looking away

from his path.

 

He’s got the coffee from Fay’s

and stop lights timed, raincoat ready

and change for the paper. Rhythm

is his order of living, diamond-

cut, mirror made. His Sousa-steps

engage the ground like the hidden

gears of a fine watch

 

and as he disappears

around a corner I notice

the bus is late and the traffic’s

begun to thicken. Postponements

drop out of my eyes like light snow,

landscapes become more manageable

as the necessities of a sign start to fade—

and an old man in me fiddles with keys

in front of an overgrown, vacant lot.

 

 

Bible Story

 

I want to say something

in the dense August air

kept repeating, buy it, buy it,

as I held the palm-size Bible

up to the light of a dying estate

sale. But I also want this

to be believable, something

to measure the holiness of home,

if there is such a place.

 

It was given to Sadie Schofield

at St. Paul’s Sunday School

in 1877. Riverside, somewhere.

That’s what the inscription said

on the first blank page.

And judging by the four leaf clover

I found deep in Chronicles

she must’ve known something

about the consequences

of clicking her hidden heels

a certain way and closing

her eyes against a world

suddenly larger than her own.

 

At the very least, she’d discovered

even a golden path has to have cracks

to breathe, expand. Which is surely

why she gently trusted these tiny

leaves of legend to a book teeming

with households held together

by a patchwork of prophecy.

It’s no secret we’re only complete

when something’s missing,

it seems to say. There’s a place

for it, I thought, as my wallet

finished speaking in its familiar,

tuneless tone. And I imagined

the clover coming into Sadie’s

eyes all green and rootless,

half prayer, half answer.

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Reader Comments (2)

George Bishop's mastery of simple, well-stated poetry is a joy to behold!.

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Knight

Enjoyable work!

Clowns, parties, a very wistful work.

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Knight

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