Gene FENDT, Spring 2019
The Lyric Frame of Sorrow
"I like your apple pie," he said,
embracing her from behind,
"but I really love your buns."
He leaned into her, his hands
impossibly under her apron, blouse, and bra
as she leaned out to place
the pie up on the cooling rack
beyond the child's sudden hands.
"One of us is going to get burned,"
she said, wishing the signs of his affection
would avail themselves of times
less inopportune, if not, precisely,
dangerous. "We're out of milk,"
she said, blue veins warming in his hands.
"Take Tommy; I'll get the table set."
"And then...?" he murmured in her ear,
one hand trailing down her stomach.
"We'll eat." --She turned and pecked his lip.
October and the trees in their celebratory fall
chasuble the hills in martyr red and gold,
bereave the sunset of her glory for a day,
orange the moon, and set the river's curves aflame;
for nothing turns the planets from their courses: the sun
declines from Libra to the Scorpion; the car,
returning, rounds the downhill curve to find the tank truck
stalled. Standing on the brake he pulls his son's head
to his lap, turns right hard, goes under; the car
is opened like a can of Spam. A neighbor runs to the road:
a glittering angel lies in the lap of the headless man,
a bruise above one eye, no further harm; no further harm.
Gene Fendt is the Albertus Magnus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nebraska, Kearney, where he has been teaching for over 30 years. He has published in many areas of the history of philosophy, as well as on Shakespeare, Pinter, Stoppard and Camus. Though he has won several awards for individual poems, he has yet to publish a book of poetry.