MARTIN J. ELSTER

★ ★ ★ ★

POETRY

Image by Luke Van Zyl

That Bitter Night

We could have driven but trudged to the drugstore —
for a lark — on the bitterest night
spring ever whipped up. You held my hand
the whole way. A skin of ice as slick
as Teflon shellacked the streets and sidewalks.

In a coat as heavy and huge as a house,
you led the way as I helped you along.
As for myself, I felt as light
as a snowflake, for our bond seemed strong,
way stronger than this Baltic weather!

Did the old pharmacist assume
we were homeless when our noses were dripping?
The cashier, too, acted toffee-nosed,
seeing us so bundled up.

Elated we’d made it back alive,
we’d cuddled on the couch and laughed
about that bumptious bloke, lulled
by the whimseys of the wind, our shivers
melting away like frost in May.

Now it’s summer. We laugh no longer.
You’re the glaze that glassed the roads,
and I’m the heavy coat you bore
that bitter night you held my hand.

Martin Elster, who never misses a beat, was for many years a percussionist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Martin’s poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies in the US and abroad. His honors include First Place in the Traditional Sonnet category of the 2022 Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest, Rhymezone’s poetry contest (2016) co-winner, the Thomas Gray Anniversary Poetry Competition (2014) winner, the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s poetry contest (2015) third place, four Pushcart nominations, and a Best of the Net nomination. A full-length collection, Celestial Euphony, was published by Plum White Press in 2019.

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