Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Poetry Month 2012: Julie Bruck - Missing Jerry Tang
Julie Bruck is a Montreal native, and has lived in San Francisco since 1997. She has published three collections with Brick Books, Monkey Ranch (2012), The End of Travel (1999), and The Woman Downstairs (1993). Her poems have appeared in many Canadian and U.S. magazines, including The New Yorker, Maisonneuve, The Walrus, Ploughshares, The Malahat Review and Ms, and she's had fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Canada Council, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Since 2005, Julie has taught workshops at The Writing Salon in San Francisco's Mission district, and worked part-time at the University of San Francisco.
For more info, news and events: http://www.juliebruck.com
MISSING JERRY TANG
It’s been over a year since he was last seen
near the park’s boathouse, where birdwatchers
congregate for coffee and small children lob
oversized chunks of stale bread at the ducks,
igniting and re-igniting their squabble.
Fluorescent flyers—Missing husband and father
of two, 40 years old, seizure disorder--
have been replaced with more recent sightings:
pictures of the two blue herons who nest here,
an egret teetering on its fragile orange legs.
His children go to school with ours, his wife
tends her patients at the hospital on the hill.
The man who ran the coffee stand died suddenly
last fall, but the place has been reopened
by a new man who looks uncannily like the original.
It was raining, windy, when a groundskeeper
last saw someone who looked like Jerry--alone
on a bench, he said. He appeared to be weeping.
The man gave him an umbrella and left.
He has black hair and brown eyes—
The regulars are grateful for their coffee,
to reclaim benches as the sun strengthens
past the winter solstice. The turtles also
line up on their island, drinking in the light.
White-gold wedding band worn on left hand,
inside engraved with initials and date--
The park’s naturalist gathers her middle-school
flock, trains their binoculars to the heron nest.
She teaches each child how to list for posterity,
and to date their findings in a log.
from: Monkey Ranch (Brick Books, 2012)