» Poetry

Reunion Ode

Do I know you, old friend? You were taken

off our asphalt ballgame expanse

where Sorrento and Parma roads met

before we were ten, to the North,

Edmonton, off my map of the world,

before Oswald shot Kennedy. Then,


you’ve told me, it was 40 below

when you landed without a coat, and found

that town’s kids could be heartless

as Philly’s where I stayed with Robert’s

and Elliott’s fists in my face. No escape

for either of us. Maybe you had more


boredom up in that numbing cold,

a near-paralytic stillness of frozen

lakes, cruel monotony of conifers

far as the mind could wander, a father

who knew only to quietly toughen you,

thicken your hide, and couldn’t. Maybe


I wound up more anaesthetized

by barrage, the din of the Market

Street pinball arcades, the ringing

thunder of bowling balls smashing

the pins under 54th Street, under

the roar of the one massive hungry kvetch


in the delicatessen above the lanes,

the howl of the great complaint

that was the real American anthem,

deafening song of never enough

belonging. I’d drift to its screech

refrains on the El down to 69th. How


was it for you? And do you know me,

after all these seasons, your silences

lonely as endless tundra, my screaming

riots of rights marches and acid rock

horror shows? Can we be the friends

we are? You’ve welcomed me


into your house, I see the boy

in the lift of your brow, that considerate

set of your mouth you learned

from your mother, and how you wait

for the kid’s heart to come out and color

the keys when you’re about to play


something for us on piano. You must

pick up on my frightened original

innocence in the blurt-and-pause

of my city-punk talk. And yesterday

when we ambled along the shore toward the old

observatory you showed me, I heard you


wonder as purely as who you were

when we sat on the swings in my yard

and joked, both of us already lost

forever, bedazzled alike under sky

wider than thought, secretly jazzed

to be recognized by one another.


Jed Myers

Jed Myers lives in Seattle. He is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press, forthcoming), and three chapbooks. Recent recognitions include the Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry, The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize, The Tishman Review’s Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize, and the Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Award. Recent poems can be found in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, The American Journal of Poetry, Southern Poetry Review, The Greensboro Review, Terrain.org, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Solstice, and elsewhere. He is Poetry Editor for the journal Bracken.