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August 31, 2011

by William Aarnes

qualcuno c’è morto contento
—Cesare Pavese, “Poggio Reale”

Some of the convicts
must die content,

at least somewhat satisfied
their life sentences

fit their crimes, at least
somewhat comforted

by prison routine. Some books
improve with rereading,

sometimes estranged children
visit with their toddlers,

some friendships develop
between those who enjoy

catching each other cheating
at cards, some chaplains

make sense of their faith
by admitting to doubts,

and some loners grow gregarious
explaining to their cellmates

the problems posed by life.

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William Aarnes teaches at Furman University and lives in Clemson, South Carolina. His poems have appeared in such magazines as Poetry, FIELD, Seneca Review, and Anti-. Recent poems have appeared in Poetry Quarterly and Stirring.

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