Len Kuntz

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On Sundays

we sleep far apart,

the Pacific Ocean between us,

Hawaii out there somewhere,

a dingy bobbing wildly,

a skiff caught in the elbow of a wave

cracking under the pressure.

On the east side of the bed,

you make a list of our broken things

while over here I’m sipping tequila

right from the bottle,

watching the surf crash and thrash,

sea boulders eroding away

bit by bit.

The photo on the nightstand shows us

twenty years younger,


tan and smiling,

behind us the same sea that now

keeps us floating

farther and farther

from the shore.


The Photographer’s Daughter

Even this much weight feels like a

vest bomb that might denote by itself.

No one notices it but me,

the rolls and folds of flesh

that everyone says aren’t there.

I am the photographer’s daughter

and I’ve seen his twigs donning bikinis,

coat rack models posing for a frisky camera,

those flirting bags of bones.

Everyone is thinner than me,

lighter than I’ll ever be.

Maybe that’s why Mom left us,

her too husky to bear down on demand.

At the restaurant Dad tells me

to stop fiddling

and eat my damn dinner.

I don’t respond,

don’t tell him that’s what

I’m trying to do,

waste away and

make him proud.


The Gathering

They are watching me die,

my friends and children

huddled bedside,

none making eye contact with the other,

everyone’s arms outstretched,

palms open

though all I have to give them is my husky breath

and the gift of knowing

that I’ve already given everything I have


Even my wife’s here,

a famished wolf with sharp claws.

If I could move,

I’d push her face off mine.

Any moment now the lights are turning off for good,

applause starting up,

a party about to be had.

I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward

to dying this much.


                                              LEN KUNTZ                                           

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