May 2008

Steven Tarlow


Steven Tarlow has published original and translated poetry in several journals, including Northwest Review, Tikkun, and Painted Bride Quarterly.

For Lefty    

Lefty sang all day while he pushed
his rack through the Lasting Room.  
He sang 'red light, red light' and
'whoever took out one, put back two'.
'Eight, skate and meditate', he giggled,
while Leon Tinkham frowned, with drool hanging
from his decayed gums, a rolled umbrella
at his side; it had been years
since water touched his skin.
Through the aisles the last-pickers plodded,
dust-flecked, almost non-existent.  
The Oliver Hardy look-alike crooned
whenever Lefty shut his mouth,
'How much is that doggy
in the window—the doggy,
the doggy in the window'.
Lefty rubbed his sore head
where the steel plate was welded on
in Saipan. At night, he confided to me
when no one was looking,
he slept in a homemade coffin—
just to test, just to prepare.
But his bladder always betrayed him;
it wouldn't let him rest in peace.  
It forced him throughout the night,
to rise from death and pad quietly
by his sister's open door.



Steven Tarlow: Poetry
Copyright ©2008 The Cortland Review Issue 39The Cortland Review