Fall 2009, Volume 7

Poetry by Timothy Geiger

Law of Least Return

Like the ocean we are all becoming
fat with everything we don’t need.
The fabled indigo surf-line now
the dull bruise of a storm-tossed sky.

On the shoreline a rot of abandonment
clenches the high-tide. Discarded coolers,
disposable lighters, detergent bottles
and bowling balls, mark the quiet conclusion
of brilliance.
                   What seagulls mistake
for generosity could get anything shot. 
So how to explain the high price of blue-
fin tuna, the sixty year old sea turtle strangled
in a fishing net?
                        How do I explain to my son
the tons of plastic adrift in the Pacific,
an expanding space twice the size of Texas
that will never go away. You’ve heard this
before but you weren’t listening. Were you?

The after-effects, like every long sleep
underground, seemed so far away.
Like the ocean my son has grown
diminished, forgotten for granted, bye-bye.

Wave and Reflect

My mother floats in a bathing suit louder than the sun
centering the sky
                           between two mulberry trees,
making the clouds ripple and curl like smoke.
It’s 1974 and I’m sitting by our above-ground pool.
The water is too cold
                                for such a hot July afternoon.
My mother has lowered herself into the water
to kick-out across the surface, eyes shut, relaxing
on her back,
                  in an ugly yellow polyester one-piece
fringed with orange elastic flowers, her arms outstretched.
I am on the poolside deck in a redwood chair.
Now she is underwater,
                                     her arms are like wings
making each wave reflect off all sides
of the pool’s vinyl circumference as she begins to rise.
Then, parting the surface
                                       through the difference
between the light and the light’s blue refraction,
my mother is the center. She swims alone.
The water is too cold.
                                My beautiful mother
becomes a splash, in her unflattering yellow swim suit.


BIO: Timothy Geiger has published 2 books of poetry, The Curse of Pheromones, (Main Street Rag Press, 2008) and Blue Light Factory, (Spoon River Poetry Press, 1999), as well as six chapbooks. His work has appeared in such journals as Poetry, Quarterly West, America, Mid-American Review, and The Pushcart Prize XVIII. Currently he lives in Ottawa Hills, Ohio, with his wife and son, and teaches Creative Writing and Letterpress Printing at The University of Toledo.