August 1999

David Graham

David Graham   David Graham teaches English and coordinates the Writing Program at Ripon College. In addition, he serves as poetry editor for Blue Moon Review. His four published collections of poetry include Second Wind (Texas Tech 1990) and Magic Shows (Cleveland State 1986).
David Graham, or Current Resident     Click to hear in real audio

for Ann George

The current resident, for good reasons of his own,
prefers to call himself David Graham, too, driving
his thirteen year old car with suspicious ease,
endorsing his checks, throwing sticks for the dog
as David Graham did on this very lawn.

He's slipped into David Graham's job
as into a flannel shirt, finding to his surprise
he's not too bad at it. His colleagues eye him
strangely, but no more so than they used to
when David was in one of his moods.
Most of his clothes fit fine, though the elbows
are thin and the waistbands a bit tight.

David Graham's wife hesitates for a few days,
considering the options, then welcomes him
into her arms as if nothing much had happened.
They make huge salads together, religiously
sift through the unbroken stream of junk mail
for the possible gold dust tingeing all that gravel.

And every morning, as the sun washes over them
in David Graham's rumpled old bed, he thinks
cheerfully, this could go on for years....



Homage to Sadie Bosheers     Click to hear in real audio

Sadie, you gave me this shirt on my back,
tested my wayward seams and tugged my buttons
long before I knew I would clothe myself
in your care. So I wanted you to know
I keep your cryptic message, "Inspected
By Sadie Bosheers," in a little teak box
on my desk, along with a Canadian coin
and one of my dog's puppy teeth.

I save it as oracle, this slip of paper
no bigger than my favorite
cookie fortune: "You are doomed
to be happy in wedlock." It's true
I'm doomed, Sadie, and I like to think
you might still find me happy enough,
though my elbows have begun to poke
through sleeves you certified so long ago.

Your signature is printed, not handwritten,
which to me just increases
your impartial grace. You had no need
to boast or qualify, just put down
one firm line to say that Sadie Bosheers
was here, on the job, living the life.
It's no statement about the honor
of hard toil, no suave calling card,
no complaint I read in your message.

Still, I accept the odd opaque blessing
of Sadie Bosheers—you step out calmly,
robed only in your own name, and meet
my dumb gaze. I pronounce that name,
and feel our separate dooms merge
in common air, both duly inspected,
both found somehow acceptable on this earth.



David Graham: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue EightThe Cortland Review