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Gene Pfeiffer



For William and Paula

             the night I arrived
I discovered that no hard freeze
let the roaches grow as big as mice
they met me at the gate
all of us with plans to rule the world

I woke up the next morning
on the side of a green mountain
and found the houses
covered in circus tents
the roaches gone
and the thick and waxy leaves
clacking in the constant wind
breathing down on the ocean

there I waited for you both to land
and climb up the switchbacks
to keep me company
show me around
explain why you put me up
on this rock

             I would learn
how big the water
how bombs fell on the island of birds
how the city lost its limbs
how paint could peel from my skin without water
how snakes would land on metal wings
and how deep the volcanoes slept below

             the day I left I closed my eyes
within the circles of two Maile leis
sweet leaves from our friend Olivia
a girl stolen from her home and her time
how big the water from here to Molokai
I was her child blowing off the island
and I slept through my arriving

             for years I’ve listened
from the middle of this heartland rock
as I stack the bricks and limestone
rake the sycamore bark
and deal with smaller roaches
who also prepare to rule the world
they insist that circus tents are unnecessary
they tell me they have travelled
travelled with letters
over much water over many boundaries
they eat the paper and glue left behind
and they say perhaps it is time
time to bring home the wind
time to start with appropriate salutations
so dear Olivia look for me under the Maile vines
             dear Paula the music in the trees is with me still
                          dear William the words too


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Gene Pfeiffer is an old baseball player who has graced UCity Review's pages before as issue one's noteworthy poet.

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