Issue > Poetry
Matthew Lippman

Matthew Lippman

Matthew Lippman is the author of two poetry collections: Monkey Bars (Typecast Publishing) and The New Year of Yellow (Sarabande Books, 2007). He is the recipient of The Jerome J Shestack Award in Poetry from The American Poetry Review. He teaches at Beaver Country Day School and Babson College.

Insane Patience

I'm looking for something that is not here—
on Facebook,
in the strudel, under the car.  
A lost phone, a bag of cash, twelve bicycle wheels that I can fasten together
which will wheel me to Iceland
where the clouds are buckets of ice to cool my tea.  
When I walk into my bedroom I'm looking for my naked wife
and a noiseless sky. In the harbor
I want seals, sea lions, a guitar with no strings
that I can pick up and strum.  
My kids tell me I am insane.  
Where did you learn that? I ask them. Insane.
From the way you talk to mom, they say.  
It's all coming back to me.  
I have forgotten how to love.  
Forgotten how to be patient.  
Patience is love is love is patience
is a big green chair that will hold my whole body,
that will hold the whole world in the kind of quiet
that is Iceland.  
I've never been to Iceland
but there are rocks on its cliffs
that have not had a conversation with a human being
in 12,000 years.  
That kind of insane patience.  
You used to have that my wife, naked, says in the bedroom
when I find her. I am not even looking.  
She just opens the door when our kids are in the kitchen
with the Saran Wrap and glue.  
If you stop looking, she says, you'll find me right here,
wherever you might be, on the bus, head in the fridge, under the car.  
It's so hard to sing the high notes anymore,
the ones that only dogs can hear
and let the world in
without a sound
but everyday I try,
I walk out of my door, turn up my coat,
and open this mouth.


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