trent busch

The Keepers

There are those who know that
not everyone should be 
allowed to touch their dress
or uniform; some know why.

But not all: those greedily
guarding it behind glass,
then at home walking out 
as neighborhood enforcers,

others of self importance
who think all hands are
attached to jam-eating
primates ready for pillage.

Our best keepers know the dead
have no need for their ware,   
however much it was once
prized or worn thin living.

How passion must take form
in those invisible spirits,
or in us for them, when one holding
limp shoulders across an arm

traces the buttons with true
fingers to fashion again
victory or anguish, the letter
now answered and received.

At the Restaurant

"Who was it said, 'When there
is no light, think dark'"?  "No
one," you said, the flattest
answer I ever heard.

When the dish is broken,
when the log has burned, when
the receiver at the
other end goes dead for

the last time, it is that
conversation echoes
the turn to whatever
will make us pretend that

nothing has happened, all
is well.  Else, the fragile
ego, bare, raw to the
infectious day, knows

nothing to do but scream
and hide in Bedlam woods.
I thought you had not one
feeling, looking away.

I have forgotten what
old task I turned to then;
the waiter came and I
paid.  Your back, as you left

before me, stopped all that
was behind you.  I thought
of you in the street outside
as worn and solitary.

Trent Busch's poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Poetry, The Nation, Threepenny Review, North American Review, Chicago Review, Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner, Northwest Review, Kenyon Review, Shenandoah, and more recently in Notre Dame Review, Evansville Review, Agni Online, Grove Review, Boston Review, Sou’wester, and the current issue of The Hudson Review

​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L