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Dear You, Ideally it will go down like this:

A guy down the street’s got a sixty-four GMC pickup
in his driveway. It’s not moved since I moved here.

I left a note on his door asking if I could buy it and
to call me at my number and that I was serious. No call.

But listen. I’m thinking I’ll go over there Saturday
(’cause there’s another car there Saturdays) and knocking

that guy’s door till he answers. I’ll take a six-pack of beer
and a six pack of pop and he can pick. I’ll pour him one.

I’ll ask him to sit on his weathered deck and we will.
I will I ask if I may smoke and if he would like to join me.

He will accept my cigarettes and we’ll talk about his lake.
Eventually I will look at him and I will say his name

and I will say, Name, seven months ago I left a note on your door
with my phone number asking if I could buy your truck.

I believe you don’t want to sell your truck and I came here
intending to ask you to buy your truck, but I have another idea.

The Jimmy’s in good shape, Name, but it needs tires.
How about you let me buy tires for your truck out there?

And Name will ask why. Because, Name, this is what I’d like.
I’m in love, Name.  She lives four and a half, five hours from here.

I work at the school. I walk to work, the store, you know. But
I need a vehicle, Name, and here’s the thing, don’t sell your truck

to me or anyone else.  How about you let me take it to see my love
when I need to.  It will be a lot. As much as she’ll let me. As much

cash as I have for gas.  But I will always park it here and I will ask you
always if I may use your truck, Name, to go see this woman. The woman.

The woman you sit on a dock like this and talk about, Name,
while it’s happening and for the rest of your life and if you’re lucky

she’ll sit out here with you and talk to you forever, the woman, Name
that is why I ask you if I can buy your truck tires, and keep buying them,

and I will chart my mileage, and I will go now, Name,
if you’ll hand me those keys.  I’ll have tires on it tonight.

I’ll leave in the morning. You’ll wake and the truck will be gone
and you will know you’re letting me and your truck live it, Name,

letting that woman we talk about for the rest of our lives or
talk about with the rest of our lives. That’s where I’m at, Name.

Ideally, name will pull the key from his overalls’ middle pocket,
hand it to me and tell me to wash it when I get back.

I’ll give her white-walls and put a tape deck under the dash.
I’ll throw my pack in the back. I’ll sleep in the bed. I’ll wake at light.

I’ll stop at the last payphone I know in existence on the edge of town.
I’ll listen to the quarters drop like my heart.  I’ll say, Hey,

He said yes. I’ll be there about noon. I’ll say, Hey,
What do you say we stay together a few days, a week, then,

we stop at your favorite record store, we buy a tape,
You show me something you think I’ve never heard.

How bout we drive. When the tape’s over we stop in the next town
and find a record store and buy a tape.  If there’s no record store

we default to the gas-station tape-rack and we make it happen.
Ideally, you’ll say, Yes. And I’ll say Hey, I’m coming to you.


To Ansel on his Second Birthday

I should have written you last year. I should’ve
written three hundred and sixty five words.

It seemed too much for me. It was. My son
seven hundred and fifty days have happened.

A poem on the occasion of your birthday
is not the place for advice or wishes or hopes,

so years from now when you find this again
in a drawer or file or some bag filled with papers,

don’t be disappointed that I’ve not said here
those countless things I have for you.  I want

you to know I don’t know what I will be able
to give, how to imagine what you will make

out of any of this. There are things I know, though.
I know that you are iron-clad-headed and willow-

blossom-hearted. I know that you know how to love.
I don’t know if this is a blessing or curse.

For me it is both. For me it depends on the day.
I know you will feel what others can’t imagine.

The way you make daddy an iamb sometimes,
a troche others, a spondee when you are on the verge

of dancing. Thank you for verging the verge, erasing it,
for dancing without knowing others ask whether or not to dance.

Maybe this will change. Maybe not. Yet this record remains:
Ansel Christian Gerard, it’s a clever innocence

with which you do your sorcery. That’s Jackson Browne.
He always makes me feel in love.  Love like the iris

you found last week beneath the bushes by the deck.
You nodded as your mother said purple

do you like purple? You knelt down and took the iris
petals in your hands. You cupped them as one might carry

a baby hedgehog from one hedgehog place to another.
If all the pictures and movies and poems and matchbox cars

were lost, I would have that memory always. Listen, you
have what matters from love, from never seeing me drunk.

A poem on this occasion, Ansel, can only be to say thank you
for running to instead of from when I come home from work.  


Christian Anton Gerard’s first book of poems is Wilmot Here, Collect For Stella (WordTech, CW Books imprint, 2014).  He has received Pushcart Prize nominations, scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and an Academy of American Poets Prize.  Some of his recent poems appear or are forthcoming in storySouth, Post Road, Redivider, Pank, Orion, Smartish Pace, B-O-D-Y, The Rumpus, and The Journal.  He currently lives in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he is an Assistant Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Writing at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.