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New poems by Michael Estabrook



When The Muse Speaks


She’s actually reading my latest book of poems,

really, truly, reading

my latest book of poems,

something she never does:

“I don’t understand them.”

“I don’t read much anyway.”

“I never know what to say when I read them.”

(Nora never read James Joyce’s writing either

so she’s in good company.)


But today she’s sitting here

in the living room reading them

and she’s laughing

and saying, aaahhh, and

“I really said that, ‘I’m a gardener, not a gatherer?’”


So distracting having her, my Muse,

reading my latest book of poems:

When The Muse Speaks.

She finishes and tells me how good they were

and how much fun

it was to read them.

“When I saw the title I said, oh no,

a bunch of love poems to me,

glad it wasn’t that,” she’s smiling

and nodding her head. Oops,

guess I won’t be showing her my next book of poems.


a line, (a blue one)


4 AM


We’re both up in bed.

I’m telling her,

“We have nothing in common, you know:

completely different lines of work,

live on opposite coasts of the country,

don’t have any sports in common,

he’s a golfer and I swim,

no hobbies the same,

he certainly doesn’t read poetry

or have any interest in the arts,

I have no interest in traveling like he does,

or in all these modern electronic gadgets.

We have nothing, except for our family history,

we have nothing else in common.”

She’s sleepy certainly, but replies finally,

“None of that matters. He’s your son.”


a line, (a blue one)


Not Me


Who could have imagined

I’d be sitting here

on my numb ass

in this stuffy, gray, meeting room

hunched over

a big shiny boardroom table

discussing the customer response

to our security of supply

business continuity plan and rollout

instead of on the latest research vessel

out of Woods Hole collecting

phytoplankton and zooplankton,

jellyfish larva and sea urchin eggs,

like I was planning and hoping to do

way back in the beginning?

Who? Not me certainly. Not me.


a line, (a blue one)


Silly, naive girl


She rejected him, plain and simple as that,

when he moved in on her,

slid up against her

in the back seat of the car.

She nudged him away, firmly,

and moved in the opposite direction,

putting some space between them.


On this impulsive first blind date of hers

she had no intention, no inclination, no desire,

to engage in any romance whatsoever,

she had all the romance she could handle with me,

her real boyfriend at the time.


I suppose she was simply curious

about other guys and wanted to have some fun

at a ball game or the movies. Silly, naive girl.

There’s not a guy on the planet

who wouldn’t give anything

to get his hands on her.

Some fun at a game or the movies – HA!


a line, (a blue one)


Flower-print Wallpaper


Today after spending the morning

walking around the zoo

with our granddaughter

I needed a nap when we got back to Dave’s.

But this time I didn’t reflect back

on my Dad like I usually do when I take naps.

(When he was dying of stomach cancer

frequently he’d take naps

in the afternoon so to this day

I associate afternoon naps with my father’s death.)

Instead, today my father’s brother popped

into my mind: when he got older

his bum knee began acting up too often

and he couldn’t stand it anymore

so one evening he drank half a bottle of Scotch,

took the end of his shotgun barrel

in his mouth and blew his blood and brains

all over Aunt Kay’s nice new

flower-print wallpaper.

I need to stop taking naps in the afternoon.



a line, (a blue one)


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