Two Poems by Linda Lerner

It’s Because

long before someone filled the word with explosives
and sound reached vocabulary
to echo out of voices across America
I heard it in a mother’s because I said so
seen it  a boss’s eyes, a doctor’s set expression
when I asked, are you sure it’s necessary
picked it up in the unspoken way things are done
in my mother’s nursing home
when someone who changed tables at lunch was
ordered back, as if she’d illegally crossed a border
that line that divides order from anarchy
line craved in stone….what stone  has anyone ever seen it?
when a seven year old  in a Sharon Olds’ poem
says to another boy his age,
“we could easily kill a two-year old” at a birthday party
I heard it in an ex president’s  because I can
why
settled in one word and was laundered thru our lives
why to stop black markets from financing it
companies tightened restriction on
cigarette marketing in underdeveloped countries
why the PO refused my check without an address
why I must give my ss number to use a xerox machine
the college bought for that purpose, why
I asked a professor and got the same response as
from the clerk at the PO, from the druggiest
who needed to see ID to purchase cold meds
from the bank who said my ID was insufficient
to cash a $25.00 out of state check

and though I didn’t hear it after the Dec. 26th blizzard
as streets went unplowed, people left stranded
at airports, in stalled trains, cars and in ems trucks
waiting to be rescued, why a sanitation truck was
parked outside a pizza store, I am still waiting
to hear the mayor  explain why weather reports
went ignored, what caused the distraction
say
it’s because of terrorism
__________________

Ex Wives Caught in the Jam

it felt as if he had thrown the jam right at her
when he returned to their table
where they usually sat
saw the measly amount in the cup
heard her say she noticed it immediately
and didn’t say anything to the waiter, he roared
heads turning their way saw him
fling his two ex wives at her who
would have spoken up for him
telling her exactly when both had
…she didn’t remember what else was said
as they left the restaurant and he became nice again
but knew that no matter how hard she tried
she’d never entirely wash off all the jam from her face

One Response to “Two Poems by Linda Lerner”

  1. enjoyed these poems… especially “It’s Because”

    “when someone who changed tables at lunch was
    ordered back, as if she’d illegally crossed a border
    that line that divides order from anarchy”

    — all watched by ubiquitous inconspicuous cameras
    mounted on every corner counting every head
    who fails to stop on red go on green

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