Thomas Zimmerman

Bigger Than a Country We gobble up the road: the window blurswith fields and trees, with billboards and the lakebelow the bridge. Remember that we’re pass-ing through, so “Howdy, unearned suffering,”and “Cancer, will you sign my dance card?” Gotour passports? Here’s the border. Duty-freeis next: Bacardi, Bailey’s, musty beerin bottles that we can’t return. They’ll checkthe trunk. Have we released that hostage yet?We call it love. Don’t lose the car keys. Noone here is ever going home again. Resurrections The morning sun makes bonfires of the pinesout back, and I am drinking bottled water,keeping balanced as I can. New emailsfrom my youngest sister mention Momand Dad, both dead now several years. And how’dI sleep? Oh, let’s not speak in metaphors.There’s Mahler’s Second on the stereo—my favorite, Klemperer, conducts. The dogswill lie zonked out downstairs until their belliestell them five o’clock, and I will drift,ambiguous as Ashbery’s selectedlater poems, which lie so mildly onthe bedside table. Hello, world: I’m passingthrough. No, not stillborn: still being born. Ripening Tonight I’m sitting in my underwear,a scotch in front of me. I’ve gotten soft,begun to smell. I think about the womenthat I’ve seen today. I think aboutold flames. My face of course is ashen inthe mirror, but it’s also like a clock,and we know what it’s striking. I’d be muchmore striking with a beard: I look too muchlike Mom before she died. She smoked but rarelyswore. My father liked her dressed in red,but she preferred her favorite, blue. Just likeher moods. I hear her now: “You’re rough aroundthe edges. Cut your hair: you look like you’vebeen sick.” The last of Shostakovich’squartets is playing softly, tones like workerssawing wood. I wonder what they’ll build. Thomas Zimmerman teaches English and directs the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Among his several poetry chapbooks are In Stereo (Camel Saloon, 2012) and From Green to Blue and Back (Zetataurus, 2016). Tom's website: