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The Letter

In the letter,
          she says she doesn’t

want to end
          the letter so I’ll

never stop reading
          this scrap light

as ash in the pit
          where I’ve sworn

for thirty years to burn it


She Loved

after Akhmatova

She loved malted milk,
roasted corn, snow
& the pump organ passed down
on her mother’s side.

She hated men
with nasal voices, flattery
& people who expect
something for nothing.

No one alive
knows anything more.


Another Gratitude Poem

Bitter chocolate
          & the memory of it
                   on her lips.

Her lips
          & the memory of kisses
                   on the gray porch.

The gray porch
          & the memory of rain
                   after a blizzard.

The blizzard
          & the memory of wind
                   & waffles in solitude.

          & the memory of it,
                   the hunger for it

& its breaking.



for J.W.R.

Such solace after all
the jobs & kids to sit

in a paid-for yard
watching squirrels eat      

the peanuts you scatter,
silence at last sufficient,

the only speech words
of encouragement.  


John Repp’s most recent collection is Big Conneautee (Seven Kitchens Press, 2010). Individual poems have appeared in recent issues of Michigan Quarterly Review, Crazyhorse, and The Journal.