local_library Touchstone

by Robert Klein Engler

Published in Issue No. 9 ~ October, 1997

In Old Jerusalem there used to be The Stone of Losses. If you lost
something, and another man found it, you would meet at the stone, he on one
side and you on the other. You would declare, I lost my father, I lost my
house, I lost my lover and my hope. He would say, Describe it, and if you
could, and he held it in his hands, he would return it. But dear, tell me,
what do you own to lose? This life from clotted salt is just a gift. Did
you lose your life? Describe it for me? It was a melody you must hear. It
was a river you must bathe in. It was a breath you must sleep next to. The
world is crowded. Go tell your troubles to a stone, your neighbor will say.
If only that youth with long hair would look at me. Wait, here is a stone.
I have chewed on it for years. No, it was in my shoe and made me limp. Is
it my heart? Father, on the other side, tell me what you hold.

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Robert Klein Engler lives in Chicago. His poems and stories have appeared in several magazines and journals, including: Borderlands, Evergreen Chronicles, Hyphen, The James White Review, and Literal Latte. He was the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award for his poem "Flower Festival at Genzano," which appeared in Whetstone.