T. J. Masluk – Groan

T. J. Masluk, writer, behavioral scientist, and former concrete worker has a master’s degree from Columbia University, a Ph.D. from Sofia University, and studied creative nonfiction at the University of Oxford. His latest work appears in The Columbia Review (USA), Wisconsin Review (USA), Ekstasis (Canada), Writer’s Block Magazine (Netherlands), New Contrast (South Africa), The Hong Kong Review (China), The Seventh Quarry (Wales), in the anthology Without a Doubt (NYQ Books), and elsewhere. He’s from Northampton, Pennsylvania (USA), a blue-collar town once the cement capital of the world.


Cold is the rain,
heavy, heavy dread,
coffee’s flat,
Mother’s dead.

Bleak are the halls
in yellowed glow,
the house she’d known –
even it groans.

Erzsébet, József, István,

Ferenc, Roszalia, Bence –

wild-eyed wanderers,
children of the sun,
cold in your graves,
where have you gone?

You roamed the streets of town
like old-world ambassadors
spreading goodwill.

You sat for long hours
eating pogácsa,
downing Bikavér.

Now I’m alone
in this dimly-lit tomb,
suffering visions
and Hadean-like nightmares!

Out back, beyond the yard,
the murky Lehigh flows,
bridge jumpers leaving onlookers
permanently scarred,

one lad with rosy cheeks
fallen through thin ice,
dynamite-blasted in gray midwinter
echoing through time.

whom I thought would last forever;

walking by porches
on windy days,

the clinking of chimes
an odd solace.



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