Poem of the Week

Tuning

Edgar Kunz

I pull the last radishes
then bed the boxes down

with hay. This is the season
of distances: weak light

in the lilacs, muffled bass
in the idling Accord.

My father a plaque that rises
barely above the grass.

That last time strangely
available: vinyl booth, castanets

from a jukebox we couldn’t see
and the pale underside

of his wrist flashing . . . .
Cleaning out his apartment,

I found a watch
in his underwear drawer,

chipped bezel, leather band
worn thin. It belonged

to his father. Once, as a kid,
I watched him press the cool

back of it to his ear, then
his cheek, I didn’t understand.

I bend and gather up
the bitter greens. My old Trek

clutters the doorway, gray
flecked with gold. Another loop

I’m caught in: suffering
and calibration. The punishing

miles, then the hours adjusting
the neatly clicking gears.

Edgar Kunz is the author of Tap Out, a New York Times New & Noteworthy pick. A former Stegner fellow and NEA fellowship recipient, he lives in Baltimore, where he teaches at Goucher College. His second collection, Fixer, is forthcoming from Ecco/HarperCollins.
Originally published:
June 15, 2022

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