Elegy

“Elegy”, “How To Make It In Business” and “Child Saint”

In Poetry Issue Five by Lynn Lipinski

Elegy

Elegy

In the smog
my father was busy
moving planes out of hangars.
I was always seven years old.
They live in their own worlds, someone told us.
We had our own urgencies, anyway
Planes to catch, medications to take and doctors to see and
Speeches to write
My mother told everyone he was a good transfer
He used to say I could do anything
But—
You’d be surprised how many people forget their
Chargers
Dentures
To-do lists
Mercy
In hospital rooms
Waiting
Nurses debate where to get lunch
Hospice workers seek signs of the afterlife.
My father saw four doors.
His parents.
It’s beautiful, they said
he said.
At 2 am I heard
My father breathing
his last

Under clouds like thrones
They carry him to the church
Sun glinting on shiny mahogany veneer
Men raise their faces to the sky
And talk of 737s as one arcs above our heads
My father’s hair smelled of jet fuel

I loved that hymn the first time I heard it
Raised on eagle’s wings
My favorite moment of flight
Throttling forward
Relief as the plane’s front wheels lift up
Shaking the earth free to slice through cumulus pillows
My father used to be
A blur of motion, always ready to depart


How To Make It In Business

Remember no one believes in you
You occupy less space in their minds than the Tooth Fairy
And even the Tooth Fairy has to grind through her job every night,
swapping teeth for coins.
Two sprites and an elf angle for her gig every day
Waiting for one child’s complaint to balloon into
An incident report to undermine centuries of performance.
No one says these things out loud.
I knew a businessman who could lie in four languages.
He sold charm and lured dreams out of your head
He wrapped promises around you like a mother’s loving hug
But he had a pettiness few saw.
He had his secretary fire someone once.
She did it with teeth bared,
shoulders rigid with borrowed authority.
Even the Tooth Fairy has to close her eyes to how money and power
suck the goodness out of people.
Remember you are a tool, like pliers or string
Useful but replaceable
Integrity, ethics, discipline is HR department chin music
Maybe it’s your song, too
But remember no one cares what melody you dance to
If you do what you’re told.


Child Saint

Hot oil and a hungry lion didn’t kill
St. Vitus’s faith but
beheading sure did. Reborn as medieval holy
helper found in
Sacred places of solemn verticality through
whipstitched centuries
Dogs and cats pray to bits of the boy’s
leg bones and eyelashes

Water flows so fiercely beneath the tower

Calling up days and nights when mountains rose from ancient oceans
Not a single Christian in the world then

And only green
briar roses grew

A bridge connects the unconnectable
A rainbow accidentally achieved

Vitus, you’re not a saint yet
his father pleads
if you know something
do not tell it

About the Author

Lynn Lipinski

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My prose writing and one of my poems have been published in UCLA and USC magazines, the Los Angeles Times, and some small literary presses, and I’ve self-published two novels. One of them was named to the Kirkus Review Best of 2016 Indie list.