I Remember the Drowning Years

Two poems by Josh Lefkowitz

painting, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

I Remember the Drowning Years

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Landscape with Self-Actualization

after Bruegel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

Let’s start with the horse: sometimes,
especially when working, I’m the horse,
as well as the ploughman whipping the horse

Too much time online and I become
the shepherd with his back turned,
arms folded into a firm no-thank-you

I really like when I’m the dog, loyal
only to my basic canine needs:
companionship, kibble, a bone

Sure, I’ve been the flock of sheep
led around to this place or that –
too much time online does that

Now, once – years ago – I became
the harbored city in the distance
and had to travel great lengths to find myself

Likewise, I have also been white mountains
to the east, cold and mysterious –
but since taking Lexapro, less so

Most days these days I’m the hatted fisherman
seated in the corner with a cup of coffee,
waiting for a bite, from a bass, or an angel

But yes, I guess, if forced to admit
(and I don’t like to talk much about this)
I do remember the drowning years

When everyone else seemed a full-sailed ship
and I was underwater with loss –
broken. From which I got up, dried off,

and lived all this life that came after


The grandkids were tasked
with carrying her casket

I nodded and waved to Zoe
from the other side of the body

It was awfully heavy
the box I mean but the moment too

Teary-eyed Zoe, sixteen,
all youth and bloom

On Z’s left hand
written in pen: Hot Pockets

Cuz, I whispered over our grandmother,
why does it say Hot Pockets

To remind myself, she replied,
that I like Hot Pockets

We laughed –
We were sad, and we laughed –

The great inheritance

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