Confessional Poetry

“Not To Dwell On It”, “Confessional Poetry” and “Restricted Airspace”

In Poetry by Roger Sippl

Not To Dwell On It

My wife was crying, as would be reasonable,
but you wouldn’t have expected it in the Taco Bell.
Coming from her doctor’s and the latest artificial insemination,
and after many jokes, over time, about the turkey baster,
the remote intimacy with an unseen stranger
and her thoughts brought those modest tears and flush.

The donor could be different each attempt.
It could be fresh or frozen,
we would never know which, or him,
and would never know if that was good, or bad.

To my son it will matter. I will try
to convince him not to dwell on it.
I will teach him how genes work
in corn kernels of different colors,
and play with him and our aquariums,
inducing sea urchins to spew their gametes
so that they may mix and combine,
and we’ll watch the cells divide under the microscope.

When I explain it to him
he’ll know I’m nervous and scared.
I’ll tell him that it doesn’t matter
and he’ll ask “Why not?”

His guardian, his father, I wish I could be the source,
but I trust my donor like I trust my son
because the product turned out so well.


Confessional Poetry

You can see his elbow
and forearm when
you’re in there. It’s
dark, and smells like you’re in
a fruit box, but a clean
fruit box.

Do you tell it all?
What if it is about your wife?
Should you be telling her secrets?

You are so very concerned, but
really, he is just a man, and a
bored man, having heard so
many times these trivial flaws
exposed.

Just a man but
mystified to us by layers of cloth,
first, the small patterned-fabric covering the window
separating his room from yours
and then the white-with-red robes of satin,
although the colors are hard to discern
in the old-paper-yellow light.

And then the shocker.
You tell him, needing to purge
and thinking this is appropriate
or nothing is, you release the news—
and clearly no one cares.


Restricted Airspace

Without a chart who would know?
Above you, I would not have guessed.

The controlling agency is not annotated well,
even if a pilot were to have purchased the paper document
or have an iPad with a subscription app
using the GPS chip, demarcating and explaining the area—
it still would not be immediately clear, I admit.

No left-seat Captain at this bar would know about you and me.
That’s why they hover and circle,
I’m sure, thinking they are in free airspace,
Class G, generally-available, no rules,
no clearance required, but so wrong.

No beacon, inner or outer marker, sorry, but
my jealousy is right there, unseeble but palpable,
(a pair of fighter jets launched, one slightly ahead and
to the left of the other, missiles armed for air-to-air
bantering and posturing from both my buddy and me)
and they should all feel the invisible turbulence
from the fifty-knot winds tumbling over the hills
from the cold sea, blowing to replace warm air rising in
this warm valley, coming hard toward them.

She is pretty, and flirts, if a smile
is a flirt—but runways at unnattended airports,
with no control tower, are also attractive, uninhibited. A secret golden
ring indicator in my pocket, I know, but all pilots should be
sober and call first, get on the radio, broadcast to local traffic, look to see
who else is in the pattern, what the
local nuisance abatement procedures might be—

and always take reasonable measures to avoid collision.

About the Author

Roger Sippl

Roger Sippl studied creative writing at the University of California at Irvine, the University of California at Berkeley and at Stanford Continuing Studies. He has been published in the Ocean State Review and accepted by Open Thought Vortex, Her Heart Poetry, Bacopa Literary Review and two medical journals, JAMA Oncology and CHEST. He has written his first novel, which is in revision.