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Two poems by Julian Koslow

My Father as the Letter A

Historiated initial

idea of a man, two legs, 

and a skyward head.

Open ladder. 

Child’s drawing

of a rocket ship. 

Two-story tipi:

downstairs the living room.

upstairs the study,

where he sits

and writes when we’re asleep:

writes and writes.


With yellow legal pad

and ashtray, he

stops you failing

Geometry: a2 + b2 = 

not scared. See?

A compass

(ala Donne); a parent

and his children.



Vector. Bell.

Syllogism: if, then:


and their conclusion.


6AM. Morse code 

tapping collect 

from the underworld. 

I cling to sleep, clutch at dream’s 

empty cape. 

The boy lies next to me, 

right next to me yet

nowhere near me at all; 

his eyes,  

when I yell into them,

are vacant 

as the space between stars. 

He is a fish, flopping for air. 

He is a talking drum from the land 

of haywire neurons, a guesswork pulse 

whose every odd interval is a held 

breath and whose return is a rude guest, 

hooded and rapping at a door where 

although he’s unwelcome he knocks 

and knocks and knocks. 

Julian Koslow has poems recently published or forthcoming in The Avalon Literary Review and Cider Press Review. He lives in New Jersey with his spouse and two boys.

Two poems by Julian Koslow
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