A Journal of Formal & Metrical Verse

Photo by Anna Evans Copyright 2010


I have no other resource than this irony: to speak of the “nothing to say".
Barthes, Camera Lucida

Up north today to catch a college game
I’m nodding through the running commentaries
of friends recounting all our halt and lame,
when one says you’re still hanging out at Perry’s.
So afterwards, I go; it’s not that far
and sure enough, beyond a row of beers
and spirits, and across a host of years,
your twenty-something picture tends the bar.

It’s held its own, if not intensified—
that shock of blond, blue-eyed, electric poise,
worn since by countless Abercrombie boys
but current, now, as on the night you died.
It’s kept your image on that wall, iconic,
where memory and snapshot might concur
that at some other point in time, you were—
before the blurred one adds its own ironic

And then, you weren’t—the accident, that spring
you worked here, fresh from school, was all your fault
and no surprise; we’d seen how you’d assault
the hills in your MG—a ‘driven’ thing.
At least you never dreamed you’d maim
somebody, let alone the crash would claim
in slower motion, but every bit as wild,
your parents, who’d lost their only child.

Now, gray as they were, past the young bud’s day-
long grief, the silliness of a bouquet,
silly all by myself, I stand composed
as an absurdly late eyewitness, posed
with, if not yours, still, no one else’s face
here in this fine and private public place,
and feel the impact like a passerby,
to know you’re dead, but see you yet to die.

By Frank Osen

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