Shared Experience

The diver’s arc launched him down
into blue-gray depths that would
wait out eternity for the splash
of his brown-red body that now
pended in stone-white air, uncaring

of the longest wait between the ashlar
leap and sparse tree curving above
the patient pool, all in ancient
Paestum while I watched, having
landed in a comfortable chair

in front of the painted slab that once
was the underside of a ponderous
lid separating the quick from the dead
before the excavation and museum role,
whose setting I was now enjoying

but could only linger minutes for
the sea-seeker to find the deep
untouched for twenty-five centuries,
so gazed with calm and concentration
through the scant cloth of time

that fell to my lot by Campanian bones
thrown by gods of Mare Nostrum who
wouldn’t understand the painter’s tongue
but might the pigment upon the piece
of cut rock that we both considered

despite the difference between my small
plot on the earth and their dominions
of sky and ocean, why tiny imitation
lay open for me who would soon
depart upon his own determined arc.





Private Composition           

The grit from the concrete steps
has imprinted a series of notes
upon the old straight lines

of my knee’s loose skin, no bloody
dissonance, only a silent staff
upon which I may compose a soaring score

whose harmonies only I may
hear in subtle sympathy with my
flex and strain as I perform the task

and lift the weight, remove the obstacle
from this portion of the day, which
might grow to the heft and tangle

of unwelcome weed, so nip this growth
in the bud, to my working song that lightens
my load, buoys me in the salt sea

of average labor where my sweat mingles
with the minutes of maintenance—the everyday
melody of unrecorded opera minora.

[John Zedolik is an adjunct English professor at Chatham University and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, and has published poems in journals such as Abbey (USA), The Bangalore Review (IND), Commonweal (USA), FreeXpresSion (AUS), Orbis (UK), Paperplates (CAN), Poem (USA), Poetry Salzburg Review (AUT), Third Wednesday (USA), Transom (USA), and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In 2019, he published a full-length collection, entitled Salient Points and Sharp Angles (CW Books), which is available through Amazon, and he recently published another collection, When the Spirit Moves Me (Wipf & Stock), which consists of spiritually-themed poems and is also available through Amazon]



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