ON YOUR DECISION NOT TO COME TO INDIANA
Rebecca Bednarz


Don’t worry, I’ll be leaving by dawn today—
I have decided to teach poetry to my science students.

Walking to class so early, the greenhouses
glow orange like an electrical storm. I plan what

I expect their responses to be: Weird, who does
she think she is? What is this going to do for

me? The snapdragons (I try not to remember
mouthing words to you once with their pink petals)

lean into the windows. They bear their blunt yellow teeth
from the homes they have been given,

their sterile beds. In the dark wind, I walk to that:
one lit room tells the time brighter than the sun. Don’t

worry, I’ll learn from what they say: most words are artificial,
without grief. Can you imagine my expression?

Love can’t be said—anyhow, I understand where
you’re coming from. Don’t.

 

CHOPIN LEFT ON THE VOICEMAIL

I imagine you’re waiting in your truck,
Save-On parking lot, wasting some time,
a prescription’s being filled. On the dash

your cell phone records the radio. I hear
fingers over black keys, pedals lift, press,
thunder from the Steinway’s wide chest,

teenagers loitering outside on the sidewalk.
The snow here is melting to make way for
fire engines, white hot bleeding hearts

by the garage, burr knots in my cardigan.
There are times you call and don’t seem
to know me, can’t know where I’ve been

finding solace. But for now my hands are
folded, coat hung up for the night and day
after, the sound of smoke, two exhales.

 

Rebecca Bednarz currently lives and writes in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her poems are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and The Threepenny Review.

 

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