Three Poems

POETRY by Chip Blackburn

Note From Your Dad’s
Alpharetta, GA

when he came from Illinois,
he cracked a smile.
it all settled.

and when he drank milk
he drank it from the carton,
and when he put it back
in the fridge,
he left the cap off.

and when he gripped my hand
it was like a beam,
like an iron handle.

when I came over
he ordered food.
he asked if you wanted a sub sandwich or pizza.
I wrote it down.

he had an old convertible, which he couldn’t fit in
after your brother died.
this was summer.
your birthday was the Fourth of July.

Letter, Lined Paper
Madison, WI

JM,
When it rained today
in Iowa and southern Wisconsin
I was reading Transparent Itineraries,
I stood looking through the window
where some dogs were racing.

JM, the world’s unruled
for me or anyone.
Even Chicago still moves—
though gridded in and staid on the portage—
faint wanderings through fields of chain-link,
flat waves on Lake Michigan.

And when it rained, the lines went out
to meet me
where I was standing in the window
in Madison and Prague, now or then,

or at O’Hare, still leaving.
I know where I could go and stand, JM.
But I don’t open
my passport.        It’s in a well-lit room
in the drawer where I keep it.

Linden St.
Madison, WI

the bus,
which phantoms

by my window
at night,

glassing in
and breathing

a cushion of steam,
brings visions of Frances

in her yellow shirt
in the barber shop window,

of the long green felt tables
in Mickey’s,

of sleeping mugs
in Mother Fool’s,

then rides out
past the Green Turret

into the heavy trees
of Sherman

Chip Blackburn (MAPH’12) is a technical and non-technical writer living in Madison, WI.

image by Zara Gonzalez