There’s a comfort
beyond John Barth
and what my lover says
when we have our Friday lunch
of bad potatoes, thready beans, and rice.
She tells me thready’s not a word,
but we know exactly what it means—
she’s my lover, after all, and gets
the self I give her, the Carl
chewing and imagining
other Carls, what I could be—would be—
if one of us were in Norway
skiing. She winces. She’s really not
my lover, but this is a poem
and many stars stretch
over Asia Minor tonight
and all these people beneath them:
future basketball forwards,
mathematicians and bums
and long-distance truckers and it
goes on. John Barth in Cambridge,
Massachusetts knows it goes on,
sipping expensive whiskey at noon,
stretching his legs. The books have all
been written; a daymoon rises
over Bristol County; we are dying.
We aren’t really dying, but my almost-
lover tells me that’s a lovely way
to end a poem, so I do.
There is tomorrow, after all,
and soup, and things to say
that haven’t been, precisely.
Carl Boon is the author of the full-length collection Places & Names: Poems (The Nasiona Press, 2019). His poems have appeared in many journals and magazines, including Posit and The Maine Review. He received his Ph.D. in Twentieth-Century American Literature from Ohio University in 2007, and currently lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at Dokuz Eylül University.