KEEPSAKES BY SAUL ZACHARY

Who would have dreamed
decades later
that the bent figure
turning over memories
as keepsakes is
me
mumbling in a toothless babble:
Where are they now?
Should I grab a shovel,
exhume the graveyard
to find out if my first girlfriends,
zoftig Marilyn Seidman and
Muriel Singer who taught me
cha-cha and Crazy Eleanor
from Brighton Beach who taught
me everything else,
are dust?

Did they burn out like old bulbs
or do they still shuffle about in bedroom
slippers from day pain to night ache
waiting for soup or soap operas
or the phone to ring,
and if it does, could they rouse
themselves to answer it,
hissing “Who is it?” wondering
if it’s me calling them from
the hereafter to come out and fool
around like we used to on staircases
and the beach when we were
16 and never said no
to anything…?

WHAT DAY IS THIS? BY SAUL ZACHARY

Evil Wednesday, fat with portent,
once more bullies his way
ahead of schedule,
infecting innocent Tuesday
with such fear she stands
paralyzed by the week’s mad
coming and going, terrified
of being mowed down by
the quickening traffic of days
shooting by without giving her
a chance to know if she’s
present, future or past.

Monday already lies stepped on
in the gutter, face down, forgotten.
Thursday looks at Wednesday
barreling toward him and thinks
of canceling. Friday wants
to switch places with Saturday
or Sunday, remembering how
Wednesday put a hex on her
last week, turning her into
Black Friday with a mangled
stock market and crises
on every continent.

And where am I in all this chaos?
Going back to bed which I
should never have left,
considering I don’t even know
what day it is, and, aside from
rotten Wednesday, neither
do they.

Saul Zachary’s poetry has been published in The New York Times, California Quarterly, Mobius, Poem, Taproot Literary Review, Pegasus, and many other publications. His plays, which have been widely produced in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and the U.K., are published by Brooklyn Publishers Inc. and have been included in The Best Short Plays series. He has won awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, PEN American Center, New York State Creative Artists Program Service, CBS-TV, and garnered a Massachusetts Arts and Humanities Fellowship. He is a three-time winner of the Dubuque Fine Arts Players National One-Act Playwriting Contest. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts. This is his second appearance in The Match Factory—we love Saul’s poetry.