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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
Once in a cradle in Norway folded
like Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir
as a ship in full sail transported the dead to Valhalla

Once on a mountain in Taos after making love
in my thirties the decade of turquoise and silver

After your brother walked into the Atlantic
to scatter your mothers ashes his khakis
poem
My father tells the story of his life

and he repeats The most important thing:
          to love your work.
I always loved my work. I was a lucky man.

This man who makes up half of who I am,
         this blusterer
who tricked the rich, outsmarting smarter men,

gave up his Army life insurance plan
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