Poem of the Week: ‘Irreducible Minimum’ by Bruce McRae

Cultured Vultures Poem of the Week

2nd Place
‘Lost Weekend’ by Stephen Mead

Found us years later, a moment

of stage fright when the spotlight flies on.

How to keep breathing?

How to reassemble the disordered senses?

Take the Mystery Train through Sentimental Journey

& shock still floods, a disinfectant

going right over rust.


Sure, the corrosion goes clean,

but isn’t there a burn?


We thought the tracks had been changed

& by our own hands.


We thought another show had closed curtains,

yet that last act was unfinished——

An old cabin, two days & what really occurred.


So flip back the calendar.  There was

an unexpected guest.


You said.  I said…while the unsaid swept new evidence in——

bottled letter, missing photo, voice over the phone.

That diagnosis was meantime, had a long hibernation

& neither of us knew what a body can house, pass.


Now there is light & those polished cedar windows

did pour love’s transmigrated soul down over tidal pools

where two beings splashed, held, innocent,

pleasure after pleasure, a devotion freshly pledged then,

then & there,

when health was no worry.


What we meant was that our ways would be altered,

& they were.

We grew different faces, stronger eyes, deeper touch.

We believed, were convinced, hard times, hatred,

must let our people go.

So if we meant it, truly felt the bond breathing

without an inkling of this——


Say, retrieve the lost weekend, meld that light

with this hour & bring your close arms,

your tender fire for what is to come, be it

sickness, but be it life

for we have absorbed, love,

will rise beyond, the unexpected ghost.

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