Morning Bells

Morning Bells


After I tell you about the homicidal

maniac at work, you tell me you have

news, too, and I hear the drop in your

voice–maybe a couple of notes–

I don’t know, I’m not a musician.


I hear Dr. Yudelman’s name and next,

about his precision since he’s a

South African. You tell me, usually he

sends his patients home with the

sentence–“Six to twelve months”;

but how he can’t with you because you

are remarkable. He has even gone to

            hear your poetry.


You are the blue-capped pigeon, the

eternal pilgrim, the loyal first mate

when the blackness came and you

could no longer see the Towers from

your bedroom window, your daily

first sighting. You said: “People were

offering water and food! No one was

breaking and entering! Indian restaurants

kept their doors open and made food

            hot with sterno!


“Socialism,” I offer, not being there.

“On a good day,” you add, I know



I don’t know what I’d do without you.


You don’t hear me because I haven’t

said it, because you can read thoughts.


Our voices become whispers–gone

underground beneath the weight of

the good Doctor’s sentence. We do not

talk about the usual–the writing, the

children or the mundane matter of

            making a living.


I poke my words through the receiver.

We’ve got so much left to do,

you and I–travel, make more poetry,

figure out the riddle of what you call

your latest self-discovery–

            to accept love.


I say I can help you with that ’cause it

has been difficult for me as well.

So I offer, “Do the things that make

you strong.” You hold on to that as

a morning bell, tolling, swinging

            back and forth.


We stay on the line. I have nowhere

to go. We will brave the elements

            as always, together.




To my pal, Fay Chiang, approaching

the 4th anniversary of her passing





Teru Judy Kanazawa


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