The Other Couple and Cast Away, two poems by Joseph Radke

      The Other Couple

      What was missing was the sin,
      the mistake, the pivotal event,
      and thus the great unfolding drama
      lacked its tragic climax. Gone too:
      the need, the chance for atonement.

      It all happened when our eyes
      were elsewhere, while we tended
      to our own affairs. Then, suddenly,
      the inexplicable decay. As if we were
      some other, unknown couple in Eden.

      Neither confession nor penance
      can erase what we didn’t commit
      but was committed against us.
      All I can offer is forgiveness.
      To whom, I don't know.

      We cannot rebuild the beauty
      of the garden from memories
      and a few flower petals pressed
      between the pages of an old book.
      Not even the fragrance survives.

      Cast Away

      I am tired of this boot full of stones
      Bearing everything you’ve said.

      The one with specks of quartz
      Reads, Did I ever tell you about…

      Another, a flat skipping stone,
      Has Thank you in slanting script.

      A big jagged one, sharp edged,
      Small print—I don’t know.

      This one worn smooth
      From too much handling:

      One side, Good-bye,
      The opposite, I truly do.

      The others I’ll cast away.


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Lynne Knight
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