ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Four Poems by Joel Solonche.



When I dashed out across the road in front of your car, I timed it

I knew what I was doing.

I am a coyote, after all.

But I wanted you to think I was a dog.

I can make myself look like one when I want to.

I wanted you to exclaim, Hey, stupid dog. You almost got killed!

Then I wanted you to think I was a red fox.

I can make myself look like one when I want to.

I wanted you to exclaim, Hey, fox. You almost bought it, you idiot!

Then when I all but disappeared into the trees,

showing you only my tail,

I wanted you to know who I really was.

I can make myself look like who I really am when I want to.

I wanted you to exclaim, Holy shit. What's a fucking coyote doing around

And you did.

After all, gringo, I am a coyote.



Brooklyn Bridge

How much smaller it looks in stone
and steel than in its photographs.

Even the least of buildings tower over it.
But it was here first.

It is like the old cemeteries cities let lie.
Like the ones they fence off, and surround

with the new because the prominent are buried there.
There is something of the grave about it.

There is the somber dark of the stones.
There is the skeleton of the cables ossified against the sky.



In the Woods

In the woods, deer bones on
the trail with the rocks and
the roots. Mortality. Immortality.
What's the difference. Take your pick.
These words, for example, are neither rocks
nor roots. And only if they stick in the throat
are they bones.



Lake Osiris

Who knows why they named it that.
And who is they anyway?

Maybe someday I'll ask around.
Maybe I'll find out from some old-timer.

He'd remember all right.
"It was that woman," he'd say.

"You know. That wife. That widow.
That what's her name.

That Isis woman," he'd say.
That's what he'd say.

J.R. Solonche is coauthor of PEACH GIRL: POEMS FOR A CHINESE DAUGHTER (Grayson Books). His work has been appearing in magazines, journals and anthologies since the early 1970s. He teaches at SUNY Orange in Middletown, NY.

His poems appeared in Offcourse #42.

Return to Offcourse Index.