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Third Ear
by
Richard Kahn

Third Ear, by Richard Kahn

Richard Kahn is part philosopher, part social worker, part architect, part surgeon, and all poet. In taking apart the bird bones, dust and light of daily experience he’s learned to re-assemble the pieces into eggshells which we hold carefully for their apparent fragility but which we couldn’t crush with all our might if we tried. An excerpt:

Trust, Two

If we dare name it, we might call it
trust: When we deliver our child to the school bus
that whispers a hydraulic, “trust” as its yellow, bi
fold door shuts....
Or that we hand him over to the school at all
to be fed a lunch of boneless beast and the invisible
germ of a little knowledge. But there are laws
we do not follow, but which rather
push us from behind, that make the apples drop
on a teacher’s desk with a thump
and a bruise, yet we trust
that no wrong will befall him and the worst
that can happen, is a stronger immune system.

Or as I sit by your side while you drive,
we share black coffee in a styrofoam cup
and this trust that the road will not end
around the curve, though beyond
the headlights, black gauze stretched
across the abyss, the night still waits in his mask.

We lift our chins and are dazzled
by the sky or look down into this boy's bright eyes. I say,
“trust,” but my tone betrays a wheedling,
a pilgrim with a swagger acting as if
I could just as easily strut as ride
with a white cane instead of the headlights poking the dark.

Or, like a king’s dwarf, get fat tasting every bite
of the beast for poison, as if father is dwarf to the child.
Or that every morning at the bus stop, I truly see
God’s yellow mouth swallowing
my son and my silent acquiescence.

But knowing that ain’t the word.

Arms outstretched in the dark, you find trust
only if it follows a long
pause and, before that, doubt. I lay
my love at your feet:
I have paused, and I have doubted.
And you can do only one of two things: trample it
or remove your shearling boots so I can admire and desire
the arcs of your foot, your calf, your inner thigh

And you do the third thing:

You offer me your neck.
I kiss it. You raise your chin a little higher.

—Richard Kahn

56 pages. $10, includes standard shipping within the Continental USA.

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