Joel Gunderson

Two Poems

three

There may be times
when your words simply echo
in the darkness
or cannot
keep a woman
or fail you
in a game of wits
or make your sister cry.

You will find
that no matter what
you proclaim
it is never
enough.

This life is
both endless and small
just like your body
that heaves and writhes
as you weep
because I have
made you share your toy.

You are my boy, my love,
my army of fury, my small tower,
my devastation and repair.

If you do not know now,
then you will know soon
that the abyss walks beside you,
that death cradles you,
and that your voice
along with everything around it
will be snuffed out.

Church Going

Once, I took an offer
from a friend
to pick me up for Church.
When the hour came
I stayed in bed.
He honked his horn, but I held out
and watched the time
turn on the clock
until he drove away.

Had I risen
I might have found resurrection—
the broken body waited for me,
the cup, held up,
still full, still waiting.

Today, I circle
my brother’s house
calling his phone again and again,
calling his name through his windows,
trying to wake him
and tell him our father
has died.