Lunch Poems

Poem Written on the First Anniversary of My Father’s Death

A new poem by the author of Green Squall and winner of the 2005 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award.

Curled on sacks of cypress mulch, their bodies slack with sleep,
           two cats:
One black, one a dirty gray,
Both scrawny and flea-foul.

                        When a boy
Rides by on his pawn-shop
Bicycle, yelling and knocking over garbage cans,

They do not lift their heads.
They do not lift their heads
When the thunder drops its load of stones

Into the rain barrel—.

                                              Of what handsome

Rats must they be dreaming!
What evenings passed in fat
Repose! Not even the wind,

Its cold honed on the hinges
Of foreclosure signs, has edge enough
To cut them from such feast

As they have found; not even the rain
When it comes…if it comes—
Will trouble them.

Jay Hopler’s work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, and The New Yorker. His book of poems, Green Squall (Yale University Press, 2006), was chosen by Louise Gl├╝ck as the winner of the 2005 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His next book, The Yale Anthology of Younger American Poets, will be published by Yale University Press in 2010. He is Assistant Professor of English at the University of South Florida. More by Jay Hopler