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About this Poem 

“In this poem, I sought to embody the delicate yet resilient nature of friendship. Conversations that probe sensitive territory; the local, shared experiences of place and weather; and showing up to help a friend move boxes all contribute to the rich stew of affection. At the poem's close, I wanted to evoke an unlikely connection—one that exists between two people who, across their differences, find ways to care for one another. Eliminating capitalization and punctuation helped me focus on the essential elements of imagery, music, narrative.”
Robin Becker

Men as Friends

I have a few which is news to me
Tom drops by in the mornings with his travel
mug my mother would call it a coffee klatch

we review our terrible histories with fathers
and talk about the father he’s become and how much
it will cost to replace gutters the ice brought down

and then there’s soft-spoken Harvey
with whom I enjoy long pauses in conversation about how
they raised the Nelson town hall and put a foundation
     underneath

during which we both look at Mt. Monadnock and then down
at the ground and then back at each other silence precipitating
the pretty weather we share before he goes inside for lunch

when I had to pack up my office Tom boxed
and loaded books into my car I didn’t think he’d want
to but his idea of friendship includes carrying heavy things

at the dog park the retired Marine with the schnauzer
asked do you have a husband  I replied I don’t care for men
in that way
as a Marine James mostly played cards

on a supply ship now he mostly hunts and fishes
climbs his orchard ladder for my Cortlands
and in trout season leaves, in my fridge, two rainbows

Copyright © 2015 by Robin Becker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 1, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Robin Becker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 1, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Robin Becker

Robin Becker

Robin Becker was born in 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She earned a

by this poet

poem
Shot with arrows and left for dead,
against the angel's leg, Sebastian sinks.
In time, he'll become the patron

saint of athletes and bookbinders.
But for now, who wouldn't want to be
delivered into the sculpted arms

of this seraph, his heavenly
shoulders and biceps?
The artist understood the swoon

of doctrine
poem

Give me, again, the fairy tale grotto
with the portico-vaulting overhead.
Let me walk beneath the canted columns
of Gaudí’s rookery, spiral
along his crenelated Jerusalem
of broken tiles, crazy shields.
Yes, it’s hot as hell and full
of tourists at the double helix,
but the

poem
Worry stole the kayaks and soured the milk.
Now, it’s jellyfish for the rest of the summer
and the ozone layer full of holes.
Worry beats me to the phone.
Worry beats me to the kitchen,
and all the food is sorry. Worry calcifies
my ears against music; it stoppers my nose
against barbecue. All films end badly.