In Absentia
William Welch

Now, days pass the way they do in Russian
plays—everything important happens

during a pause…Dialogue
must be trivial—like Restoration style wit…

Someone is humming, confusing the melody
of Holst’s Jupiter with a Lucinda Williams song,

while someone else is swearing at charcoal
because it will not catch…

And you are in absentia…I keep thinking
of Joyce trapped in that Austro-Hungarian school,

his “bad eye” getting worse week by week,
until all he could see through it was Dublin,

while the “good eye” saw a classroom
full of young men, each a unique pervert,

like the rest of us…Oh, I’ve been seeing double
for twelve years, but won’t cover up my strabismus,

because it allows me to see you night and day
at the same time as the steering wheel,

the city edematous with fog…I’m following the road
and following you…living two lives at once…

Who could say, that is my real one, this is not?
William Welch lives in Utica, NY where he works as a registered nurse. His poetry has appeared in various journals, including Little Patuxent Review, Stone Canoe, Rust+Moth, and Cider Press Review, and his collection Adding Saffron (Finishing Line Press) is forthcoming in 2025. He edits Doubly Mad (doublymad.org). Find more about him at williamfwelch.com.


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