Monthly Archives: September 2011

Need, A Piece of Him & She Waited For Him

By Bill Yarrow



I knew I needed to visit a beach
made entirely of sharks’ teeth
and on that beach I knew I would find
ivory binoculars left by a vegan birder
and with those binoculars I knew I could see
into the windows of a shoreline luncheonette
and in that luncheonette I knew I’d find
my step uncle propositioning a leggy waitress
and I thought of my aunt, her failing eyes,
a thousand miles away on a dirty beach
looking for signs of onyx-colored birds
and I knew I had to visit that beach
for I too wanted to see those birds
and I had the binoculars necessary



                                                                                                                                             For Gil

                                                                                                                                             Barnardo: What, is Horatio there?

                                                                                                                                             Horatio: A piece of him.


People who lose a leg to a battle
or disease often describe the feeling
of having a phantom appendage,
experiencing the sensation
of still feeling the absent limb.

When I lost you, I lost a piece
of myself. I haven’t felt whole
since that day. It’s not that I can’t
go on; I can. It’s not that I can’t
think straight; I can. It’s not that
I can’t focus; I can. It’s that the
future is now incomplete. It’s
that with your radical vanishing,
the dignity of infinity is diminished.



Station after station, she waited for him,
and he waited for her. That was part of
the problem. Misalignment. But neither
understood the geography required
for connection, how locus expands,
how the Atlantic Ocean becomes Texas.
When he held her, he thought of Racine.
And when she held him, she thought
of Cheyenne. Of course, there was nothing
in between. Except for love. But what
is love? Perfume worn by saints. So they
stalked cathedrals for the odor, breathed
in sandalwood, candles, holiness, mold…
And when their noses were full, they took
that to mean they had found it. We all
want to believe we’ve found love, but
what smells like love may not be love at all.
That’s the cross. It may be just worship.



Bill Yarrow is the author of WRENCH (erbacce-press, 2009), “Wound Jewelry” (new aesthetic, 2010), and FOURTEEN (Naked Mannekin, 2011). His poems have appeared in many print and online magazines including Poetry International, Confrontation, Rio Grande Review, Ramshackle Review, Istanbul Literary Review, BLIP, DIAGRAM, Pif Magazine, LITSNACK, Now Culture, blue five notebook, Right Hand Pointing, Whale Sound, PANK, and Metazen. He is one of the poetry editors of THIS Literary Magazine. He lives in Illinois.