Tag Archives: Doris Marie Schwaner


At a parent’s wake, November 2017

You arrive, as at the unfamiliar railroad station

Through which your own memories pass
As the luggage of real people, familiar but

Changed by all the time they have spent
Away from you. Sometimes one of the people

Will reach into their backpack and bring out
Their own memory of your parent, showing

Something you have never known. Then,
As real people do, they leave the station for connections

That will take them to their own lives again.
Your line does not move. Outside, swallows,

Those early summer infidels, bank with reckless
Accuracy against the momentum of all the invisible

Forgotten things.

November hymnal (8) / for Doris

November hymnal (8) / for Doris

Here in the dead center of autumn
Comes the voice on the phone.

I am outside of the house, outside
My father’s Explorer, on the side

Of a hilly street I call home. I was
Looking at the library across the lawn

Across the street when I heard the words
She was dead. Just then, as I stood

Inside nothing. And the past was past
Me, like a car on its way to the library

Traveling too fast on a neighborhood
Street past a standing man, nothing

More than a pellet of the present, on
a bleak night’s road beneath which the miles

Spin and the signs have gone dark.

October 8 [Book of October]

October 8

I’m collecting my life in quarters.
Every year a bit of alloy. In my palm

A pile of tiny time machines.
Some I have kept close:

A single moonbeam, a summer
Alone, a goat, a glimpse

Of what won’t dissolve
Even when devalued.

I’ve tried to ignore the years
When you forgot my name

And then your voice
And then your self

Because there’s still no coin
Of a realm where you’re gone