Friday, April 29, 2011

The Man Who Lives in the Gym

St. Procopius College
Lisle, Illinois
after World War II

The man who lives in the gym
sleeps in a nook up the stairs
to the rear. Since Poland 
he's slept there, his tools
bright in a box locked 

under his bed. At noon bells
call him down to the stones
that weave under oaks to the abbey
where he at long table takes 
meals with the others 
the monks have left in 

for a week, or a month, or a year
or forever, whatever 
the need. The others all know
that in Poland his wife
had been skewered, his children
partitioned, that he had escaped

in a freight car of hams.
So when Brother brings in, on a gun
metal tray, orange sherbet for all
in little green dishes,
they blink at his smile,
they join in his laughter. 

--Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He has had poems published in Calliope Nerve and other publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

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