Thomas J. Erickson

Back to PoetryA History of the World

The History of the World


There are so many objects in it –
lawn chairs, mirrors, maps, rulers.
History is made when objects collide.


In this room, I stood by the crib,
lifted the blanket, and let the barely
perceptible rise of the tiny ribs meet
my touch. Now, I can erase the faded
pencil marks on the door jamb
with a touch of my finger.


The Friday nights in summer
when I drove through the towering cornfields
of central Illinois to get to your farmhouse
in time to have a beer on the porch.
We would lie in bed with the window fan
blowing on us. The humming of the insects
like a hypnotist’s command to float away.


The mums – the ones from your dad
when you were in the hospital – are opening
again. It’s too late, though. The freeze is
coming and by tomorrow their yellow lids
will be permanently peeking
at the frosted grass, the wilted stalks,
the reflection in the window.


Thomas J. Erickson is an attorney in Milwaukee, WI.  His chapbook, The Lawyer Who Died in the Courthouse Bathroom (Parallel Press, The University of Wisconsin Libraries), was awarded second place in the 2013 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook Contest.


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