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About this Poem 

“The narrator here is a little bored and lonely and at least two-thirds along the way towards the end of his rope, which perhaps raises the question: What will happen when he arrives at the end? Either he wishes for someone or something off in the distance to respond to his pleading tugs, signaling he is ready to be pulled back to safety and comfort, or else he contemplates new uses for the rope, like tying one end to an anchor and throwing it overboard into the river.”

—Brett Fletcher Lauer

Representative Character

I cut the orange in two 
  and the two parties 
are not equal. I watch 
  the driveway, study 
irregularities in market 
  fluctuation, the bird
humming at the feeder. 
  It’s colder than yesterday. 
Very dark. I’ve been here 
  now two years and 
haven’t received a letter.    
  One hour of sleep 
before midnight is worth   
  three in August. Do you 
know what I mean? 
  Women in particular 
responded once to my  
  advances. I’ve been 
researching Buddhism 
  on my phone for twenty 
minutes. They say one 
  thing exists in every 
hidden thing. Soon I will   
  replace myself with 
the sound of a prayer 
  bell application. Cigarettes 
drag time. I get news 
  alerts: first the harbinger 
of the storm, followed 
  by an icon of the sun 
covered in raindrops, 
  then nothing to look 
forward to. Another 
  coffee without milk.
There’s no hurry. 
  In a few hours a sprinkler
system automatically 
  operates. Someday 
somewhere I believe 
  someone will depend 
on my presence 
  at a recital or, more likely, 
their ride home. I wish 
  there were more time 
to go back to school, 
  read the classics, clean 
the pool. The doctor will 
  arrive soon to walk me 
around the bend up in
  the road, pause at colonial 
gravesites. I could care. 
  Gradually these fields broaden, 
brown, and we walk back. 

Copyright © 2014 by Brett Fletcher Lauer. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on April 29, 2014.

Copyright © 2014 by Brett Fletcher Lauer. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on April 29, 2014.

Brett Fletcher Lauer

Brett Fletcher Lauer

Brett Fletcher Lauer received an MFA from Saint Mary’s College in 2007.

by this poet


In this room, hours pass, a slight
corruption of each previous
allotted time block—and probably
confirm failure and humiliation,
which though not ideal, I accept
as historically accurate. I’m sick
of lifestyle music, the thing between
awe and detachment which Hazlitt


I understand what
a jump shot is,
certain mechanics

of the body, hand
positions, elbow
alignment, follow

through. Enough
player names to
mention around

the imaginary water-
cooler if I found
myself there. A body

at rest still needs
to hydrate. I