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Richard Widerkehr

Biloxi

To explore more of Richard Widerkehr’s poetry, click on the pamphlet titles Deer in Fog at Twilight Near Squalicum Lake Road and Potter’s Vally Road.

La Bibliotheque by Felix Vallotton

When I fainted in the heat at the bake sale in Biloxi where I had taken
a break from selling World Books door to door, she called 911.
I awoke, my face in her lap, scent of musk and violets, her hands
crossed over one bare leg slung idly across a green, stuffed armchair.
Sirens. Porch swings. Two shattered statues of red roosters.
Twelve cradles. Why was I counting her things? When I put my hand
in her cookie jar, she slapped my face, then said, “I shouldn’t have
done that.” First Aid told me, “Stay out of the sun. You cannot afford
even one of her twelve broken electrical circuits, not one cradle.”
I was done with encyclopedias, rosters of unsold books.
What were these smoke signals on the ridge called Autanum?
As I squinted at one scarab insect on her gold screen door, I knew
I would not become an accountant like my father.
Why was I singing “Home on the Range?”

 

About the writer:
Richard Widerkehr’s fourth book of poems, Night Journey, was published in 2022 by Shanti Art Press. Main Street Rag brought out At the Grace Cafe the year before. His work has appeared in Open: A Journal of Arts & Letters, Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and many others. He won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan, three prizes in The Bridge’s annual awards, and first prize for a short story at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference. He reads poems for Shark Reef Review.

Image: La Bibliotheque by Félix Vallotton (1865-1925). Oil on canvas. 31.8 x 23.8 inches. 1921. Public domain.

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