POETRY March 1, 2024

The Poem for R

The poem on the lake.

The poem with a checkered blanket.

The poem in which a great painting

is described and then sold at auction

leaving the poem empty, unreadable.

The poem in which the moon compares

itself to people and their things.

The poem about a cow named Alan.

The poem shaped like a field.

The poem in which Christ pockets

all the money donated in his name

and walks off, muttering to himself.

The poem with room for milk and sugar.

The poem in its mid-fifties.

The poem written in a strict form based

on the stages of grief, emphasizing meter

and denial.

The poem in which a dog returns

to say love is a kind of tennis ball

thrown into the night, a thing

glowing in grass just enough

to find it, but still faint enough

to be lost with no blame. There is

no blame, the dog says, you were

busy and I didn’t live long.

Be happy we met at all.

The poem made of red cups.

The poem written on a hat.

The poem prescribed by a doctor

who makes a second appointment

to read it to you under supervision.

The poem tied up in traffic.

The poem in which the word Skull

is capitalized.

The poem punishable by song.

The poem in which Hyperbole is

pronounced so incorrectly

people actually die.

The poem that doesn’t end with

the ghost of a dog.

The poem of exquisite regret.

The poem that delivers itself

on the way to the hospital.

The poem of swift justice.

The poem of just swiftness.

The poem lovely as the letter R.

Brendan Constantine is a poet based in Los Angeles. He is the author of several collections, most recently Dementia, My Darling (Red Hen Press), and his work has appeared in many standards, including Poetry, The NationBest American Poetry, and Poem A Day. He currently teaches at the Windward School and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Since 2017 he has been developing workshops for writers living with Aphasia and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
Social Media: Instagram: @brendanconstantine