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08 April, 2018: Menhirs


by Kevin Prufer


I was lying on the couch
and outside rain kept falling
so I turned the page of my magazine
while Mary hummed in the bedroom,
changing the sheets.
On television, a man went on about
dead empires. What was he saying?
Piles of stones, long stone walls
winding through the green fields of,
I guessed England, then
several mysterious stone circles
in the center of which were—
I knew what they were called—
menhirs. The television was
muted and the man moved his lips
again, perfectly comfortable
among the stones and wind,
in his tweed jacket, his bright red tie.
Mary was still humming,
pushing the beds back into place.
Once again, the sheets were
clean and smelled of soap.
Outside, the rain came down
in vast populations and now
I was slipping into sleep,
raindrops exploding on the windows,
wind leaning into the walls. That week,
a young woman I knew slightly
had drowned. They’d towed her empty boat
through the storm.  I must write her family,
I thought from far away. Then, a sense,
like a warm wind, settled against me:
we drift through time   
the way trees drift through rain.
We hold none of it.  We hold
none of it.  I felt terrified
in the bright room. On TV,
the man was still talking.
Mary pointed the remote control at him  
as if to change the channel.
For a moment longer
menhirs glowed in the sunset.

"Menhirs" by Kevin Prufer, from How He Loved Them © 2018. Four Way Books, 2018. Appears with the permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.  
Kevin Prufer was born and grew up in Cleveland and now lives in Houston. He is the author of seven books of poetry, including Churches (named one of the 10 best poetry books of 2014 by The New York Times Book Review), In a Beautiful Country (a finalist for the 2011 Rilke and Poets prizes) and National Anthem (named one of the five best poetry books of 2008 by Publishers Weekly). His newest book, How He Loved Them, was published in March 2018 by Four Way Books.


Merriam Webster added 250 words to its dictionary last year. Choose three to include in a poem you write. Here are a few: callery pear, ransom ware, bunny (from basketball), schneid, alt-right, froyo, sriracha, woke (slang) and troll (internet-related). See more of the words.

N. K. Hasen
Refreshing Treat

On hot Summer days
I go out to for a cold treat.
Order a refreshing froyo.
Let each bite last forever.
Checking a website to see
What this superfood contains.
At least I will not be hangry now;
For my froyo was a satisfying treat.
4/8/2018 10:19:01 AM

Troll the bunny
But it's effect
Has been known for years
To the game's woke
4/8/2018 10:07:32 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.