Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 3
Spring 2011

[Two Poems]

Terry Hertzler

I meant to write a happy poem

something with roller skates or sherbet, 
some memory culled from a childhood 
in the Mohican woods of Ohio,

where my brother and I swung from vines 
like young Tarzans, innocent of corporations 
or collateral damage. But the war drags on 

and tonight I find cheerfulness doubtful. 
So I guess this poem will have to do, 
although it contains no ripening orchards, 

no laughing girls to stir the first bright dreams 
of adolescence, not even an evening mist 
to soften the end of the day.


Turkey Pot Pie

We remember it differently, she and I.
That night we ate at Marie Callender’s 
before the movie, shared a turkey pot pie. 
I gave her roses. Afterwards, we argued, 
some feminist point with no connection 
to plot or character. At home, I found
the flowers sitting in the garbage, buds 
just beginning to bloom. 

Actually, she insists, we ate at Chili’s 
that night, southwestern vegetable soup, 
and the movie represented a typical 
patriarchal perspective, and she placed 
the flowers in the trash out of frustration 
with my thickheadedness, always planned 
to retrieve them. 

Proust had it right: time mutates memory.
And who knows whose memory most 
accurately reflects our actions, recorded 
in those slippery spaces between synapses. 
I can still taste the crust of that pot pie, 
soft crunch of carrots and peas, still smell 
the elusive aroma of that evening, steam 
rising as my fork punctured that thin shell
and everything escaped.


“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury