Forgiveness is a small boat and other poems

by Zachary Kluckman

Forgiveness is a Small Boat


You were       almost

A silk-worms’ favorite leaf



Almost          delicate


Slender wristed

As the throat of those orchids

We talked about planting at Christmas


But you could never catch rain

That’s how I knew we were doomed


The heart is a drunken architect

Full of blue prints and sky scrapers

No one understands his designs


When you danced naked

Through the tawdry office of my mind

Upsetting the furniture

Teaching the windows

to sing like wine glasses

At Hollywood weddings


You were the rain


All throaty laughs and light touches


You were the leaves    dancing over concrete in fall

Red eyed and wicked

Waiting for some one to jump in


I was a leaf gatherer

Chasing these widows of spring


Pressing lovers into bed sheets

The way maple folds against the spine

Of old journals      biting at the bindings


A canvas topped Samson

Loose in the city          assaulting bookstores

With the jawbone of an ass


Stolen from a farmer’s field

Freeing poems trapped like hungry birds

In the back of old books


You were       almost    delicate

I was rebellious, a bee in the window

Your eyes could never quite close


Somewhere in Albuquerque there is a church

That remembers the prayers of our feet


In that church there is a closet

Where we almost committed a sin of impatience

A broom that has seen you naked


And a flowerbed where I buried our vows

When you weren’t looking


As this earth is my witness

You were the rain


I have stood naked inside of you

Surprised by your violence



The Sun is a Bug on the Windshield

…the sunset

stays in my windows.

I have trapped it there


with a brush

painting each color’s portrait


with the eager optimism

of a sinner

seeking salvation,


with the quick hands

of a junkie,


convinced that rainbows are prisons.


Water based prisms

making marionette’s of the spectrum.

Colors suspended


by their own lack of faith,


with the skepticism

of a father, with no home

for his children


convinced the sky

has slit its wrists,
opened the veins in a display


meant for the sun.


A mean ex-lover

whose affairs with the trees

gave birth to the shadows


where my mother was born,


sculpting mud for a son

she named carelessly


under the bright,

melancholy suicide of dusk.






Harvest Half Moon


If my hands could cross

the harvest of your heart

and leave you untouched

then what business of mine,

this burden of scything


this wicked threshing

the thrashing limb of my eye

something separate, unhinged

like the black pearl of a crow

rolling untethered in the socket


what dirty oasis, your love

carving half moon love letters

like soured lemon mouths

puckered with impatience, this

impractical orchard you planted


in the heat haze of fever,

the flesh swelling like soil

reaching for seed after a dry season,

eager for reason. Eager to remember

purpose. And passion.




Zachary Kluckman is the Spoken Word Editor for Pedestal Magazine, Associate Editor for The Journal of Truth and Consequence, Director of the Albuquerque Slam Poet Laureate Program and a founding member of the Albuquerque Poetry Festival. His poetry appears in print and on the radio around the world. A Pushcart Prize nominee, his recent publications include The New York Quarterly, Memoir (and) and Cutthroat among others. When he is not untangling string cheese, Kluckman is hard at work on a new manuscript titled “Those Dust Shouldered Ghosts”


photo by Angela M Campbell



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