Shishir 2023 Poems - John Zedolik


By John Zedolik

The sun’s might has faded the Turkish
restaurant’s awning that once peacocked


a proud purple to the main street from its
Sublime Porte, whose empire has fallen


as all do even if merely gastronomical
rather than of geopolitical and transcontinental


expanse, so this agéd fabric must the proprietor
replace with renewed color of confidence


greeting the general public with the business’
best, if only the extent of a quarter city block,


extent curtailed by the ceding of its banquet
province to the realpolitik of sale and cash,


no more does it spans the intersection, but no reason
to relinquish the heartland and let its shading


sail bleach to salt desert’s gray and exhausted
white, instead raise another standard in blazing


contrast to the cool shadow for customers’ comfort
as they found a new nation, a culinary republic in savory fight.




The old poinsettia casts a shadow
upon the placemat, near the end of its
term as a signal through the dun and gray


of winter and the cancer diagnosis and succeeding
chemo that has gone better than expected
so has exceeded hope, which the scarlet


of its leaves has bannered, so we have deemed
to interpret the durable blaze of two seasons
pushing to three where life will continue


for one of the two, probably she with legs
instead of roots that gripped the soil and year
to anchor the heralding of said hope, the red


rising above the worry and fatigue, above
the months of doubt and molecular medication,
leaving them low and pliant, so far, to the hairless


one’s will, the wish, to be left behind even as we
desire this flower, remnant, survivor since December
to move into the summer, the future, with us alive.


John Zedolik is an adjunct English professor at Chatham University and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and has published poems in such journals as Abbey, The Bangalore Review (IND), Commonweal, FreeXpresSion (AUS), Orbis (UK), Paperplates (CAN), Poem, Poetry Salzburg Review (AUT), Third Wednesday, Transom, and in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In 2019, he published his first full-length collection, entitled Salient Points and Sharp Angles (WordTech Editions), which is available through Amazon, and in 2021, he published another collection, When the Spirit Moves Me (Wipf & Stock), which consists of spiritually-themed poems and is also available through Amazon. John recently published hus third collection, Mother Mourning (Wipf & Stock), again, available on Amazon. His iPhone is the primary poetry notebook, and he hopes to use technology to craft this ancient art remains fruitful.


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