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Thomas Zimmerman

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the poet

Thomas Zimmerman teaches English, directs the Writing Center, and edits The Big Windows Review at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has been active in small-press publishing since the 1980s. His latest poetry book is Dead Man's Quintet (Cyberwit, 2023).

the poems

Few Good Things

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A sluggish walk in dewy woods with Ann

and Trey, who nearly snagged a fresh-dead bird.

The sun burned off some brain fog, thoughts began

to breach, and then submerged without a word.

Unshowered, stubble-chinned, I had a bad

night’s sleep: Trey licking, barking in his dreams.

Or maybe it was me, poor poet sad

enough to nurse his ironies and memes.

And now black coffee’s coursing through my wan

and tepid blood, spring-gleam in glacial shade.

Yet ennui clings like moss, chill hanging on.

Not hard to see how few good things get made.

How long this search for beauty, truth, gods’ signs?

Ad infinitum? No, just fourteen lines.

How Slowly

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Some days, how slowly flows the river: that

of consciousness, and I a crumbling cork

in it. Oh rudderless. I think of all 

the swimmers in my streams, some surfers too.

All hunted down: white sharks. My screen glows whiter

than potential, clean blank canvas stretched,

which I, most days, mistake for nothingness.

Last night, twice, thunder shook the house. An inch

of rain. So muggier than hell today. 

But after work, I saw a fawn, curled cool 

in backyard spruce shade, looking at me with

intent, or so it seemed. But I admit 

I often think that you are looking at 

me that way too. You like to say you’re not.

Dispatch

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My dad would have been 94 today, 

and I’ll be 63 next Saturday.

Regardless of which Zimmerman’s alive

or dead, years fall like rain to swell the river,

same mad god still counting drops. Now, drowned

gold sun, dry champagne in your glass, strong ale

in mine. I slept in late this morning, haven’t

showered. Mind’s a dark pavilion, fairness

in the shadow turning blue, and temples

gray. I write because I want to feel

alive: the poet in the book I’m reading 

says the same. New moon: late birdsong, whine

of tires on the interstate, the bedroom 

window cracked to let the night air in,

death floating lonely and austere. I feel it 

pass but know that it and I will cycle 

back. This dispatch from the planet, time, 

my molecules: so slightly all coheres.

Publishing credits

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S h a r e

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