Don Barkin

Don Barkin
Don Barkin lives with his wife and daughter in New Haven, Connecticut. He teaches high school nearby. Last year, Antrim House Books published his first full-length collection of poems, That Dark Lake. He has taught at Yale, Wesleyan, and Connecticut College.

The Persistent

He swims every day all year,
wading in from any beach
wherever he happens to be—glistening
resort or grimy port-town,
remembering the heft of the tide
and where the bottom dropped off.
His plunging hardly leaves a ripple.
The water wants to bear him up
and he passes through it graciously
as a Congressman or a widow.
You lose him for a frightening while.
Until he appears clambering
onto a rock you hadn't noticed
sticking up, so far away
he seems almost to be standing on air.

At The Edge

You can't take your eyes off the boy slumping
in the monstrous chair being wheeled
backwards into the college gym—
the way you stood in that roped-in field
gaping at the canyon's rim
and imagining yourself jumping.

Ode To Rte. 6 West-bound

The roadside grasses quiver in
a wave of air where cars have been
like knots of comets howling by,
too loud to hear the grasses sigh
as sleepers sigh when nightmares shake
them cruelly up but not awake.
The cars themselves are in a spell
and travel back and forth pell-mell,
trumpeting a new age
of information, speed, and rage.
Such sleek machines are bound to bring
a springtime sweeter than the spring.
The grass blades bending in a gust
all-hail them on their way to rust —
and then again the road is still,
with just a whiff of oil and will.