5 Poems. By Michael Estabrook.



I’m not certain
having made only
a cursory search
over the volumes
and volumes written
about him but
I don’t think
anyone’s ever written
anything about
Shakespeare’s chin
so here it is.



black loafers

My loving wife bought me a new pair of shoes, black loafers, shoes I really do not need. “I could bring them back but I really want you to keep them,” she said as I began to complain.



Shackleton’s Phrase

Life is a travail, a dark uncertain wood,
I remind myself to remind my wife.
You must keep slugging your way through
relentlessly, but with grace and dignity,
in order to get to the end intact,
and able to hold your head up
and honestly say as you look back,
(as Shackleton could) “I have done my best.”




Back in the Middle Ages

“Say, Doc?” I grimace
as he yanks the stitches
out of my jagged red hernia scar
(though curiously it doesn’t hurt).
“What happened
when someone had a hernia
and needed surgery like this way back
in the Middle Ages?”
He brushes
my incision carefully
with an alcohol wipe.
“They died,” he says,
as he strides out of the room.




Tall gray bird, an egret I think, standing
in the shallows of a small pond over
in the fields behind the high school, poised,
quiet, elegant, intensely focused,
his head with its long beak
snapping suddenly like a whip
into the water, stabbing at one
of the innumerable, plump,
brown tadpoles beginning to kick
their frog legs. But he misses, comes
up dry, his beady eyes staring down
into the dark water, incredulous
at having missed and, if
I didn’t know better, a little
bit embarrassed about it too.




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