Though the country no longer exists,
“Czechoslovakia” is the code word
my wife and I employ when we are
with other people. At a dinner party,
should I turn to the host and ask,
“Have you visited Czechoslovakia?”
my wife knows I am breaking –
that I’m in trouble and need to leave.
“Czechoslovakia” means all the glass
is beginning to shatter. Even when we
lay in bed, quiet and intimate, some nights
my wife will decipher my inner thoughts.
“Where are you?” she’ll say. And I’ll say,
“I’m lost somewhere in the dark woods
of Czechoslovakia and can’t get home.”

Richard Jones’s most recent books of poems are Stranger on Earth (Copper Canyon Press, 2018) and Avalon (Green Linden Press, 2020). The editor of the literary journal Poetry East, he will celebrate forty years of publishing with Poetry East #100, a volume called The Bliss of Reading. www.RichardJonesPoetry.com

See more of his work in 8.4 and 8.4 and 4.1 and 4.3 and 5.3

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