Robert J. Howe


we are, all of us
the lifeboats ground to splinters
against the foundering hull
this is not a metaphor
the sea is like nothing but
itself, a cold elevator that heaves you
up and down
waves felt rather than seen
you will never use the phrase
“out of my element”
to mean anything
but heartstopping powerlessness
so that years later
you can’t abide the waterglass
on the flat and motionless
kitchen table
remembering stories
that teach you what luck is


Night and Fog

To live under a lowering sky
is like always breathing out

The weather is a lie
nacht und nebel
cloud cover the hue
of a drowned man’s belly

They want me to know
that sunlight doesn’t exist
that I can’t see
how this all ends

But color leaks in
from unexpected places
grace sends its green runners
fingerlike beneath the crazed mirror

One erratic bulb
casts jitterbugging shadows
in a cheap hotel room
the maid hums
erasing my visit

© Robert J. Howe

Robert J. Howe is a former U.S. coast guardsman and merchant mariner. He has published poetry in 50 Haiku, Punch Drunk Press, and Serving House Journal. His short fiction has appeared in and The Flatbush Review, the magazines Analog, Black Gate, and the anthologies Newer York and Happily Ever After. His haiku series, “Bury My Heart at Olduvai Gorge,” was part of the traveling exhibition Knowing Limits, shown in U.S. national parks.

Back to Main Loch Raven Review Site