We met 

for coffee. 

I had 

No intention 

of hitting 

on her. 

I was  

married and 

her husband 

was doing 

time for 

some kind 

of telemarket- 

ing fraud. 

Besides, she 

has… rumor 

has it… 

f—ed most 

of the  

boys in 

the Buddha 

Garden poetry 

reading group. 

She hosted 

this group 

and was 

now droning 

on that 

my words 

were terrific, 

but my 

performance lousy. 

(What am 


f—king seal?!) 

Also, I 

don’t care 

much for 

rhyming poetry, 

she added. 

(Probably because 

she cannot 

write it.) 

I smiled, 

continuing to 

scribble in 

my notebook 

as I 

have been. 

Do you 

know — 

—- —–?, 

she suddenly 

asked, knowing 

full well. 

I confirmed 

by nod. 

They say 

you, —- 

and ——– 

kicked ass 

at the 

Seattle ‘slam’. 

Nothing special, 

we were 

just better 

I guess. 

Must have 

been the 

coffee there. 

She smiled. 

Wanna’ go 


and show 

me how 

you perform? 

No, I 

said, barely 

looking up… 

I let 

the silence 

hang in 

the air 

long enough 

to be 


before asking… 

You want 

more coffee? 

I hear…

the wind blow 

across the land- 

scaped, tended lawn. 

The flapping of 

wings skyward. 

The sound of 

children learning 

to socialize. 

The traffic yield 

for pedestrians. 

The shattering sound 

of hearts breaking, 

of unrested souls 

scrambling for sal- 


The clouds gathering 

to form a 

peaceful shroud. 

I strain— 

to listen for 

pleasantries in 

the air. 

For voices to 

sing in harmony 

as one. 

For the cease- 

fire of all human 


I listen. 

4 thoughts on “VOICES FROM THE FIRE: S.A. Gerber

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