Donald Justice



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Lethargy


It smiles to see me
Still in my bathrobe.

It sits in my lap


And will not let me rise.

Now it is kissing my eyes.


Arms enfold me, arms

Pale with a thick down.


It seems I am falling asleep

To the sound of a story


Being read me.

This is the story.


Weeks have passed

Since first I lifted my hand


To set it down.

Men at Forty


Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,


They feel it moving
Beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors


They rediscover
the face of the boy as he practices tying
His father’s tie there in secret,

And the face of that father,


Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound


Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.




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