Two Poems by Greg Huteson

Solitary Travels

for TLH

I’m unnerved in this curved land,
a patchwork borderland
of heights and high humidity
that is my home and yet
not my home as I pace
the bus station waiting room.

As buses are called
to destinations south and north,
salt and pine, my father lies
confused and dying elsewhere,
among other, sere hills
and hillocks, across waters.

Severed by sorrows, pendulum
somehow gone awry,
I miss the call for the 7:45
airport bus. Five minutes late, I see
the clock face and the numbers, see
the fumble of this last-chance plan.

It’s now unlikely, a timely route
to the city that is my father’s home
and once, long since, was mine.
Made frantic by this, I panic
and start to accost the clerk
with almost histrionic pleas.

He responds initially with dodges
and practiced dialogue
but, unbalanced by the weight
of persistent, prescient grief,
soon signals for assistance
on his sleek obsidian phone.

The bus numbers still sound
during the long, odd minutes
that I wait. I am told to wait.
So, I stand with the luggage, fretting
while buses pull into their slots
and awkwardly back out again.

Later, the clerk singles one out
and, not unkindly, instructs me
to board. I wrestle my blue
carry-on into the storage space
and distractedly walk up the steps
into the cavern, the bare vessel.

The driver pulls out without a nod.
It seems I am the lone,
the orphan, passenger, a VIP.
I lean back against the yellow
cloth with thin red stitching
covering the head rest.

There are grim, scarred bridges
that we pass and pawn shops
and, later, flooded rice fields
near fierce tomb mounds. I glance
down once to check my messages
and find a brother’s note.

He writes, “Blessed are those
who die from now on.” Or simpler,
less crafted words, his words.
Wrecked, I travel on to old haunts.
The lean driver hardly moves.
The bus neither rattles nor shakes.

A New Phase

Curved over bowls of rice eel noodles
and near an ivory plate of squid,
the four worn bodies scarfed the food
while warmly chatting of the quid
and quo of tides and common sands.
The squid and eel bits somehow left
the table and their distrait hands
as they spoke of old lines left
and nets of yearnings strewn on rocks
for mending and return to docks.

The bright white bulbs in that room’s bulk
by then had cast their oblong lines
along the flimsy whitewashed hulk
of walls as sure and certain signs
of night’s now swiftly nearing land.
A moon’s full worth of quiet cold
and craters soon would rise—a strand
of fractured light—and mark a fold
of fortune for the tangled four,
who gamely saunter to the door.

About the author

Greg Huteson's poems have recently appeared in Alabama Literary Review, Better Than Starbucks, BigCityLit, Macqueen's Quinterly, and THINK. His chapbook, These Unblessed Days, is…

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Issue 25 - Spring 2022

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