The 2River View 17.3 (Spring 2013)

Barbara Wuest

The Real World

Just when you think you’ve been on this earth too long
something happens to make it all brand new—a made

thing or persons born, like the woman over there bundled
against the cold walking from the side door toward the

barn that just might collapse if the wind picks up, how
she and the landscape remind you of the character and

setting offered in that novel you read with its affairs,
secrets, suspicious deaths, all seen through the eyes of a

boy who is now a grown man recalling having seen too
much back in those days when his father did wrong with

the woman from the farm who fried the boy some eggs
on the very same day and arrived in his dreams that night.


There’s the book, there’s the life, there’s the thing that
saves, an email, say, sent to your address saying your

best friend fell in love with a man who studies plants
and she is no longer lonely or sad, and just below, in

your inbox, a niece writes in cyberspace in a parrot’s
voice, one she made up and assigned a human name,

Ronald, and a country of birth, the moderate UK, alas!
We have a formal exchange in which he pokes fun at

our ways of staying in touch (email offends his soul)
and wonders about a species that hangs onto a distance

he has to relearn, spreading his claws over lettered
keys that “fly” him to Brazil to set the record straight.

Barbara Wuest holds an MFA from University of California, Irvine. Her poems are published in Beloit Poetry Journal, Cincinnati Poetry Review, CrossCurrents, Dogwood, Laurel Review, The Paris Review, Wind, Wisconsin Academy Review, and elsewhere. contact