Two Poems by Robert Philbin
Fourth of July
When the endgame withers
the crow’s head realigns its feathers
against the wind.
We are all shoeless gamblers
crossing the fjords with icy diligence,
that calm that comes when nothing else
stands in the way. sometimes it matters
and then suddenly it doesn’t, like a breeze
stirring the elm leaves just above
the river down on front street. the perpetual
outsider, once welcomed, the intriguing stranger,
and then disappearing into the festive crowd.
I want to be a well dressed man,
a satorialist in splendid hand
me downs, with a slight scent of war
and nostalgia for a woman who
is comfortable around me,
a woman who kicks off her shoes
and talks about her dead mother.
I want to dress so fine even death
is intimidated by my antique Italian
tie; I want to be the kind of man
whose smile fills up with so much history
around the eyes, it makes certain
women think of rain on a cobbled street,
or the peaked lapel of another century.
I want to wear my hat at a jaunty slant
like a proud Greek miner with broken hands
and a pistol in his belt, a man who
understands the winter of his own life.
His worn shoes singing of love and roses
under my bed, where death’s calculus slumbers.