Monuments are built for fear our
small lives won’t be remembered.
Trajan’s, Nelson’s, Washington’s–
all with history expunged by rain.
Then there is the tallest file cabinet.
Rusty, 40 feet high, with 38 drawers
that held 150,000 pages, just 304 Mb
my iPhone could inhale for a snack.
This one is different– so paltry, yet
it towers like the stanzas of an ode.
The in memoriam is what is not here:
fully articulated fingers opposed by
the thumb which, in concert, assign
our X. The Palmer Method taught us
rote ovals & sawgrass & right-formed
letters ending up ours. I’m amazed at
clear smooth streams of styled words
grandparents left as family history–
script flourishes of T’s and F’s and S’s
illuminating a person behind the pen.
I am speaking in Times New Roman.
Their inky letters infused life like blood.
My signature scrawls– anxiously ad lib.
Philip H. Coleman
This poem and image appeared in the April PoemCity in Montpelier, VT. In celebration of Poetry Month, 300+ poems are displayed in all the stores and buildings downtown; this year the library that sponsors the event also printed PoemCity: 2023 Anthology in which the poem appears.
Philip H. Coleman has arrived here the long way around– from fine arts Yale, to decades convincing Vermont high schoolers of the symmetric beauty of chemistry, to the molecular science of poetry. He has been seen in Eunoia Review, Trouvaille Review, Quail Bell Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, et al.
The Ekphrastic Review
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