PE - condolence call backside (final2)

Condolence Call

H___T___’s cock
paid me a condolence call
when I was sitting shiva
for my father years ago,
called home from college
by his death to the apartment
I’d never seen before –
his, my stepmother’s –
they’d sold our house that fall
when I left, were waiting for
a new one to be ready, living
in temporary quarters.
My father’s last on earth –
temporary indeed.

It was January.
H___T___, high school pal,
not my boyfriend, was home
on semester break. After sitting
stiffly in my stepmother’s
living room, we went out
to walk in the frigid night
in some park I can’t name
or place now, the neighborhood
one I didn’t know, have never
gone back to, sat down
on a park bench.

Did his comforting me,
that brotherly arm around
my shoulders, slide
accidently into what
followed or had he
planned it? He took

my hand and slid it
into his opened fly
– my god how cold
that hand must have
been ­– I felt something
whorled, roped,
a corkscrew not
the round smooth
knob I expected,

Was this an attempt
at comfort?
For me? Or himself?
As if this was
what mattered:
here – here!
something alive.

About the Author: Sandra Kohler had three collections of poems published: Improbable Music, Word Press, 2011, The Ceremonies of Longing, U. of Pittsburgh Press, 2003, and The Country of Women, Calyx Books, l995. Her poems have appeared over the past 35 years in a wide range of journals, including The New Republic, Beloit Poetry Journal and Prairie Schooner.

Artwork: Paul Ebenkamp is author of The Louder the Room the Darker the Screen (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2015), “Four Colors for the Based God” (The Equalizer: Second Series, 2014), “Seizured in the Ease” (Mondo Bummer, 2013), and everything at, and is editor of a few books including Modernist Women Poets: An Anthology (Counterpoint, 2014) and Particulars of Place by Richard O. Moore (Omnidawn, 2015). With Andrew Kenower he curates the Woolsey Heights reading series, and with strings and devices makes music as Position.