The Collections
Rick Bursky

I abandoned collecting magnifying glasses
after I sold them to the president
of the Magnifying Glass Collectors of Wisconsin
whom I met by coincidence on a plane
returning from Grandfather’s funeral.
With the magnifying glasses gone
there was more room
for my shadow collection.
My favorite shadow
is of a fire hydrant lying across a sidewalk
tangled in the shadow of a bicycle.
I captured it with Scotch tape,
keep it in a cigar box of its own.
I keep the rest of the collection,
nine shadows to a box,
in a kitchen cupboard.

In my family, men have always been collectors.
Grandfather collected violin strings,
owned one thousand and seven when he passed away.
He bought them from schoolteachers,
violin repairmen, even from children
who hated practicing while friends did fun things.
And Father, he kept stacks of unused bricks
hushed in the weeds behind a shed.
It took me years to understand
that it wasn’t bricks he collected.
Like me he collected the shape of absence,
the missing light, the unbuilt things


You can read more poetry by Rick Bursky in issue 3 of Swink.

Rick Bursky's poems have appeared in many literary journals, including The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, Black Warrior Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Harvard Review. His book, The Soup of Something Missing, was published by Bear Star Press. Hollyridge Press has also published his chapbook, The Invention of Fiction.


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