February 1, 2023

Robert Lunday’s Poetic Moments

Robert Lunday’s Poetic Moments

Little Man

I need what I earn and could use a little more.

But the little man in me needs none of it.

He squats like an undiscovered arthropod

and bottom-feeds on my mutterings.

He sits in the position known as Lotus

with his knees at forty-five degrees.

The supposed virtues are his zodiac

and if he’s naked you try not to notice.


Please believe in me and do not doubt

what I say. This foaming mouth is Aphrodite

but the hands are Hephaestus clawing the air

as he falls through the heavens in dismay.

You break my heart but I take the pieces

and make from each a thousand more.


Gravel was on the menu.

It was the thing you weren’t supposed to eat.

It was there to make everything else look good.

It was there to make sure you ordered dessert,

something soft, creamy, and sweet.


Our doorbell doesn’t work. People knock

but if we’re out back, we don’t hear.

A friend sometimes stops by without calling.

He accepts our offer of tea and tells news

of his ex, who visits him without calling,

often when he’s about to go out,

having thought of some kitchen device

or book she’d like. He thinks she wants

him back. He sighs, drinks his tea,

then sleeps on our couch. When we check,

he’s already left. When I was a kid,

the chime would sound and I’d rush

to the door: delivery men with parcels

to sign for, that neighbor child

who liked me though I was timid

and stammered, and always Jehovah’s

Witnesses. One night I opened the door

to spears of rain. I stared so hard

at who wasn’t there, they almost were.

The Wild Things

The wild things invade the living room

where I’ve been building a fire

without a hearth. The living room is deadly

and I don’t mean the tiger traps beneath the rug.

I mean you, Responsibility –

the only program on a thousand channels.


Waiting’s a thing at first smaller than I am,

then getting larger the longer I wait.

Maybe I make it larger, maybe it grows

from my growing anger, or I grow smaller

from losing control of time I’d thought my own.

The space of my waiting becomes a vastness.

For all I know I’m traveling backwards

through my waiting, my destination’s not-waiting,

which lies behind as much as before me.

In waiting rooms, magazines are the windows

of waiting, mainly flipping from back to front

without much reading. Other people are waiting,

some from before me for who knows how long.

Some wait with children, who are demons

of waiting, though in my more generous mind

they are bedeviled themselves by waiting

on waiting adults who know one thing:

that some people enter through different doors

and know nothing of waiting. So we keep on

waiting, as if waiting were all we can do.


Robert Lunday is the author of Mad Flights (Ashland Poetry Press, 2002) and Gnome (Black Sun Lit, 2017). His hybrid memoir, Fayettenam: Meditations on Missingness, winner of the 2022 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Award, will be published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2023. He lives in Houston, Texas.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *