Issue 29: John Zedolik

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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