The Temporary World by Gerry LaFemina

The Temporary World

The water tranquil, soft loll of sunglaze
as one sailboat lazes from its dock toward adventure
beyond the bay.
Isn’t this how so many stories begin? Behind me

all tumult—jackhammers & Harley growl,
shrieks of children, their laughter gift wrapped
in golden light.
Old oaks chaperone, wear boas of Spanish moss.

Anoles have gone into hiding among
the underbrush; I even watched one leap, an Olympian,
from the sidewalk,
before it changed from brown to green

the way they will, adaptation necessary
for survival, to avoid workmen sawing away dead fronds
& the wrens that
woke me earlier, which seem harmless enough

seeing as they’re barely fist-sized,
their beaks almost dainty. But deadly. Such deception
shouldn’t shock us.
When it closed its eyes that lizard disappeared.

The school kids have returned to classrooms,
but before they left the cutest one said, Fuck no!,
so natural
a reaction when summoned back. In only minutes

the bay’s begun to churn, foam gathering
along the water’s edge, & the child-drawn clouds
to the south furrow
their brows, portent to a storm I still can’t fathom,

so that, hours from now, rain will lash
the windows, breakers crash beyond the storm wall.
Imagine those lizards
how important to survival it is for them to hold on,

the way they must cling to some quavering branch.


Gerry LaFemina’s most recent books are The Story of Ash (poems, Anhinga 2018) and Baby Steps in Doomsday Prepping (prose poems, Madville, 2020). He’s also a noted critic and fiction writer, and his first book of creative nonfiction, The Pursuit: A Meditation on Happiness is forthcoming on Madville. He teaches at Frostburg State University, serves as a mentor in the Carlow University MFA program, and plays guitar and sings for Snubbed recording artists The Downstrokes.

Leave a Reply