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About this poet

John Gallaher is the author of Map of the Folded World (University of Akron Press, 2009) and The Little Book of Guesses (Four Way Books, 2007), which won the Levis Poetry Prize. He is an associate professor of English at Northwest Missouri State University and coeditor of The Laurel Review.

Advice to Passengers

John Gallaher
There is a man, there is a woman,
and there is a child. 

Their faces too plain,
their mouths too wide.

It's a grim business.  You can feel it piling up
however quiet you refuse to be.

Watch them.

They woke up one morning
and their hands were all rubber.

"How can you hold me?"
they asked.
"How can I feel you?"

They woke up 
and their voices were coming through
on the radio,
saying, "I should've warned you."

It would seem easy enough 
to warn someone.

They are at the window
in the sunlight.

Step back a bit.

Don't forget to thank them
for their time.

Copyright © 2011 by G. C. Waldrep. Reprinted from Your Father on the Train of Ghosts with the permission of BOA Editions.

Copyright © 2011 by G. C. Waldrep. Reprinted from Your Father on the Train of Ghosts with the permission of BOA Editions.

John Gallaher

John Gallaher is the author of Map of the Folded World (University of Akron Press, 2009) and The Little Book of Guesses (Four Way Books, 2007), which won the Levis Poetry Prize. He is an associate professor of English at Northwest Missouri State University and coeditor of The Laurel Review.

by this poet

poem

Now the scene changes, we say, and the next few years 
are quiet.  It’s another curse, the inverse of the “interesting times”
the Chinese were said to go on so about.  Nevertheless, there it is, 
as the emptiness needs a something in order to be defined as empty, 
which means we spend
poem
I’ll make you up from out 
of the living rooms we face, 
equal parts singing gate 

and people we knew once,  
in biographical order.  Equal lengths 

investiture, and the sun came out 
and it was bright in my eyes.  

The room is dark behind 
the flaring particles.  The day 
is twenty years ago 

and Tuesday.