Two Poems by Katy Aisenberg

plaques and tangles
      For Alan

Much to my surprise,
My father is a restless ghost.
Perhaps because he took so long to die.
He haunts the halls of his own
Hospital, phantom of the cancer wards, white coat
Flapping open at his bruised knees.

Searching for his briefcase, his bronze bust of Diogenes,
His last discovery,
He calls and calls for an honest man. He wakes his
Own sleeping patients to shine a lantern in their faces or rustle through the
Pages of their charts. He can’t stop checking for a
Small mistake he almost remembers he made. He calls me for
His route home, his wife, his overcoat,
The whereabouts of his three-speed Raleigh bike.
A host of papers cover his bed, kindling his next life.

He had work to do and he
Hasn’t done much lately.
So he starts at the corridor and
Works his way down.

What can I do for you?
Where does it hurt?
Where do you live again?


the game

There is always a game on somewhere.
She realized that was the joy of it, someone was
Always sitting on the edge of their chair
Or fixing drinks. You could count on it. And not
Many things now, can you count on just like that.
The scalloped roar from a crowd and people, just some
Ordinary people really cheering for one good game.
When the dusk thickens, and he sinks in his chair, he might
Never get up if it weren’t for this.
The game comes on and they settle down.
They sleep in crumbs on the couch. They fall like trees.


Katy Aisenberg lives in Somerville MA and works as a psychologist in private practice.