Diane Kendig

REMEMBERING AN ACTUARY
          “I’m only a poet part of the time, when I’m writing it,
          and most of the other time I’m just doing the dishes
          or picking up dry cleaning like everyone else.” – Seamus Heaney

 
 
A brick layer, you set down blocks
that rise so particularly, I live in those homes
after you’ve folded up your voice and left.
When you leave that Italian singing Aida
in the wharf spotlight, I sit on the dock
till a whole opera could be finished.
Sometimes the site is my own body.
Every time you read aloud on life expectancy,
I follow you around with a trough
of cement across my shoulders.
You constructed a live oak I stood under
for three centuries.
 
An old-time operator, I rise at five,
unplug the phone, and dial indirectly
till I find a busy signal. Today I reach
the shore you dwell on. Its waves are wearing
themselves out for nothing but broken bottles,
its gulls hover like thoughts
not sorted out yet. You are downtown
as your ubiquitous desk. Between calls and memos,
you stack words along a legal pad in an ebb
and ease of shore birds that wheel and settle.
Small pieces of glass gleam in the final line.
 



Diane Kendig has five poetry collections, most recently, Prison Terms. A recipient of two Ohio Arts Council Fellowships in Poetry and a Fulbright lectureship in translation, she has published prose and poetry in journals such as J Journal, Ekphrasis, Under the Sun, and Blueline.  She curates the Cuyahoga County Public Library site for National Poetry Month,  Read + Write : 30 Days of Poetry.

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