That time I dined alone on bread
Baked by monks in a monastery
Upstate, at the end of a narrow road.
There the brothers stood in the silent kitchen
Watching the bread rising,
Clouds of fragrance floating above.
That time I dined on Heinz baked beans
Straight from the simmering pot. I stirred
And scooped with a wooden spoon,
Bending over to blow it cool,
Adding chunks of kosher hot dog.
I leaned over the pot with the eagerness
Of a lifelong bachelor, who savors
The satisfactions of solitude,
The deep tastes of dining alone.
And when the spirit moved me,
I tore off a chunk of that bread,
Rolled it between my fingers into a ball
And wiped the pot clean.
The Beckett Trees
What possessed your neighbors to plant those four dwarves
To mark an informal boundary between your property and theirs.
They look like scrawny ghosts.
When the wind rises they look like four vagabonds
Unable to accomplish more than a shrug,
Rooted and heavy with dwarf tree yearnings.
So they shrug. They shrug and they swing and sway
A little this way and that.
This is where our lives have gotten us, they seem to say,
Sad sack guardians, collateral damage
In the epic struggle between here and there.
Barry Seiler has published four books of poetry. The most recent, Frozen Falls, U of Akron Press, was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. Barry lives in the Catskills in the very small town of Roxbury.