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     The Literary Review


Page 18

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FLYING SOLO

I see one butterfly,
flying low and determinedly,
perhaps in a southerly direction,
though its path isn’t straight.
It zigzags and flits.

I can’t get a good look,
because it is in silhouette,
but the shape of its wings
suggests it is a monarch butterfly,
and the direction of its flight
indicates it’s heading to Mexico,
where it will join millions of others,
coating fir trees in a slumber,
until it is time to wake and return north.

But right now this one specimen
is alone, winging its heart out
to get to its wintering ground.

  Thaddeus Rutkowski __

OWNING MY SPEECH

Can I own the way I talk?
Can I possess it, like an object,
and let the person I’m talking to
know that I own it?

I don’t want someone else
to own my speech.
I don’t want to acquiesce
to someone else’s interpretation.

So I’ll say things loud and clear,
and if I have to,
I’ll shout things in your ear,
so we’ll both know what I mean.


  Thaddeus Rutkowski__

IN THE GYM

I count the seconds
until I can put down the weight.
It’s not a heavy weight,
but it strains my arm
as I lie on a bench
with the barbell dangling
behind my head.

I watch the second hand
on the wall clock,
trying to breathe regularly,
trying not to think of how many seconds
remain until a minute is up.
And when the minute passes,
I’ll hold the weight for five more seconds.

I know my arm will feel better
after this exercise
that feels more like torture.
This practice will rehabilitate my shoulder
will loosen and strengthen the place
where ball meets socket.
I like pain, but only certain kinds,
and this isn’t the right kind.


  Thaddeus Rutkowski__