Louis Slotin You Will Not Turn Forty

A new poem by Michael Lista
At your fortieth birthday, on a moonlit beach,
One of your guests is late.
You save a plate. A place is clean and set
Amid the after-dinner mess.
Why are you upset? Everyone is here

And laughing wildly, the whole extended gang —
Old friends and family, your little niece,
Your coterie of Nobel laureates, some heads of state,
And Harry’s here, and Alvin Graves, their wives,
Their eyes run over with ecstatic tears — even

The palm trees rock with laughter, tossing their hair.
Your forty candles come tickled
To the table, trembling with joy. And your daughter
Laughs from your lap. Japan laughs deep through its ash.
Johanna puts her arms around you and the sky

Turns like a Ferris wheel, the stars
Smiling from their spokes.
But your bomb —
What about your bomb?
It’s the only one missing!

We wait all through the night for it to come.

After Ted Hughes
Michael Lista will publish Bloom, a collection of poems, in spring 2010.

3 comment(s)

AnonymousJuly 05, 2009 20:02 EST

Can't wait for the book!

AnonymousAugust 04, 2009 20:17 EST

this is really beautiful Michael. You've got boatloads of talent.

The Shopping guideDecember 28, 2009 21:33 EST

thanks for the great poems. i waiting for the book

Add a comment

I agree to walrusmagazine.com’s comments policy.

Canada & its place in the world. Published by
the non-profit charitable Walrus Foundation
The Walrus SoapBox
The Walrus Laughs
Walrus TV