j o h n    f i n d u r a

from Glossolalia


Innocently we spelled wrong so that it read something quite different but we covered it up as the tables were evened, the cards pinned to the back wall and papers placed wherever. The photo was still mine as well as everything in it. I do not know when I began to speak in tongues; only that I know what I am saying at all times. Pencils were inconvenient and they still are I expressed to every passer-by with finger signals and scissors, plastic handled scissors in a plastic cup filled with colored markers with plastic tops next to a plastic stapler. We cried at the thought that metal was so out of fashion and we wanted metal everywhere to lend credibility and mineral satisfaction.

She had a nose job but I didn’t mention it to her although I know she knew I knew so I bit her lip instead. Everyone could have laughed but no one did, which was the strangest part of the whole shebang – stranger than couches filled with peanuts and electrical storms sitting on stand-by outside the glazed window. Strum the guitar, but don’t strum something obscure or too popular – fingerpick a fusion song that cannot be played without a full band and then make everyone else hum their parts until the apartment complex sways.

The pond in the backyard has no water
            Inside the voices grow older because all
            voices grow older
We listen to fairy tales in a foreign language

You will sing, now            for all of us

The heat is a burden and pushes down on everything
We’ll spend our money inside under vaulted ceilings

I don’t remember any of your names, Mercedes
            I will refer to you by blinking three times
            or squeezing my hand until my knuckles crack
I will not click my teeth, although I will want to

The sweat is seeping through my collar
            rubbing my neck red
I sweat while rubbing your neck
Everything is so dusty            even the grass is dry and cracked

Spend more time on the untanned parts of your body
In every way these are the most important

I change my shirt multiple times leaving
            sweat-stained collars in each
You shake a finger covertly      I, swear

      When they ask who’s in charge
                                                point to your shoes
      and when they ask what that means
      just smile and whisper nothing

Pushing was out of the question
      even if they were weak
And they still complained to you, Mercedes
      even though you have come home

I assume you have dark hair
I am very good at assuming



JOHN FINDURA holds an MFA from The New School. His poetry and criticism appear or are forthcoming in journals such as Mid-American Review, Verse, Fugue, Fourteen Hills, H_NGM_N, No Tell Motel, Jacket, and Rain Taxi, among others. Born in Paterson, he lives and teaches in Northern New Jersey.

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