Frank Edwards’ poetry has been published along with several of his short stories in the volume, It’ll Ease The Pain. He has also had a number of poems published in literary journals including The Virginia Quarterly Review. Here is a sample of his work:
Shopping on Christmas Eve
K Mart , 11 PM, Christmas Eve
May be the loneliest outpost in the Universe,
Not a place of vacuum and dark matter—
For what would be lonely about that?—
But here where the dulcet voice of Karen
Carpenter floats down
From speakers above the
Upon the heads
Of we few
Plodding the barren isles
While the skeleton crew of K Mart clerks
Eye the clock.
We are here tonight for many reasons.
Perhaps we had tried too hard
To find the perfect gift
Several weeks ago
And failing that,
Had put it out of mind.
Now, with the snow turning to slush
In an all but deserted parking lot outside
We’d settle for anything
Not frankly cheap or mean.
But even that hope shrivels as we stop again
At the shelf of decorative clocks,
The rack of felt slippers,
The parade of audacious action figures
From some parallel universe,
While Karen Carpenter plumbs the depths
Of being home for Christmas.
The distance between poetry and directions
I imagine myself in a restaurant in Bavaria
Sitting across from the sweetly crisp-voiced Fraulein
Of the language cassettes I studied for a year in the car,
Confident I can ask where the bathroom is,
Request a menu and consider the schnitzel,
Skilled enough even to inform her that it rains and snows a lot
Back where I come from,
And to order us a bottle of good red wine.
She, in turn, can inform me that her work is as a teacher,
And that if I drive straight ahead and go right at the light
I will find the post office on the Mozartstrasse,
And I will beam in complete understanding.
But much beyond that
The silences would grow like shadows as the sun descends.
I’d look out the leaded panes of old German glass
At the Bavarian peaks
And remember the softer Voges Mountains
Of Southern France
Where I’d wandered many years ago,
Staying in an old Inn and waking at dawn
To an astonishing foot of snow
Fallen during an April night,
How I’d left my young wife
To her dreams in the deep bed
And hiked far uphill along a brook
Where the stems of tiny yellow flowers,
Cinquefoils I believe,
Were trapped in plates of ice.
I would turn from the window then,
Catch the Fraulein’s lovely eyes
And wish to tell her of this
In her mother tongue.
But I could no more begin
Than I could have fought the pull of earth that day
As back down the snow-covered slope I ran
In skidding leaps.
I think I shall let her choose dessert.
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