Two Poets in the Cereal Aisle

Image from Pulpconnection.

Image from Pulpconnection.

I attended a reading last night by Duluth’s Poet Laureate Jim Johnson. (Yes, Duluth sports its own official poet.) Superior writer Tony Bukoski also read from his essays. It was hosted by Holy Cow Press – a local publisher that’s been in business for 37 years. Both Jim and Tony write from their ethnic roots (Finnish and Polish, respectively), providing for many laughs and some sighs. Topics included accordions, cows, gravel roads, railroads, and tractors. No saunas, though. Maybe next time.

The reading inspired me to uncover a poem that’s been incubating within me for several years. The reading must have made me think about local poets. Hot off the brain press – enjoy!

Two Poets in the Cereal Aisle

He stands, head bowed toward boxes
on the Captain Crunch shelf.
Bearded and barrel-chested,
if Hemingway had been a poet,
this is him.
The local Old Man and the Sea
is in my grocery store.

I slide over
pushing my cart softly, carefully.
Not wanting to disturb.
Will I see in his next book
a poem about golden wheat?
About waves and ships?
Short men in blue uniforms with
shiny gold buttons, and wearing
large hats?

Eyes still closed,
he reaches out his hand,
steadies himself against the shelf —
inspiration rocking and
pulling him
away from shore.

©2014 Marie Zhuikov