Two Poems by Jim Gustafson

When Poets Die

Anthologies embrace
Words more tightly
Squeeze slightly harder
The meanings
Once hidden between 
The up and down
Of a now still

To a Dying Icon Writer

Sancta Sophia Savalas
write the face of Gabriel
in egg yellow on gold
Before it is too late for you
And your body
Meets its curfew.

Let the cool fan wrestle with your hair
As you wrestle with the angel’s
Head, halo, eyes.
You’ve turned away
From the world
To give his face a calm,
Only he and his friends can know.

Is he watching the flowing ink
Of your pen grow weaker
As you write your daily prayers
In pictures?
Does he look away
Because he does not know
What to say to you

As he models in your mind,
Or does the face
Your guided hand has given him
Know that soon you will be
Icon writing a portrait of God?


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