Sprechen Sie Deutsch? by Daniel Klawitter

He sits, a cold monarch—
a stone on his throne,
hands crossed in his lap
like two feeble fish.

He turns a glazed glance
to the world outside his window
where the air is cool and crisp.

The tree where the lightening hit—
the children with their southern accents
playing a game of tag.

He sits deaf and gagged—
a prisoner to the years inside him,
rolled like scrolls of yellowed parchment
or buried rags in a German tomb.

The leaves blow across the garden
now overgrown with weeds:
The old house is just a building
with rooms, since Grandma died.

It was her that kept him alive
for all this time. 
Kept him kind to the nurses.

She was laid to rest last January
and the old man grunted curses
because he could not hear the sermon.

I know he loved baseball
and the vegetables he grew
in the backyard.

But it is often too hard
to speak of the secrets
a man holds in his heart
like stale rain.

This patriarch who weeps openly
at the name of Jesus—
a simple man, unsurprised
in his final reaping season.

Who knows what lies beneath
the eye of clinical observation?
As the skies go grey in these last long days
of his holy hibernation.


Daniel Klawitter, among other things, has been an actor, a singer/lyricist for the indie folk-rock band Mining for Rain, and a union organizer for mental health care workers.  His poems have been published in numerous respectable literary journals and magazines both in the United States and in England, including: The Atonal Poetry Review, Focus, The Journal of South Texas English Studies, QuietMountain: New Feminist Essays, and Shot Glass Journal.   A member of the Colorado Poets Center, he has also published two poetry chapbooks, Runaway Muse and An Epistemology Of Flesh, available on Amazon.com (link)

Bay Laurel  /  Volume 2, Issue 3  /  Autumn 2013