Robert Sargent

An Old Lunch

We've been parted for years, but I remember
a particular lunch and a poem, his. At a table,
outdoors, so it must have been summer. Somewhere in Arlington.
I was the older one, already white-bearded,
he was young, black curly moustache, urbane, Gallic,
had a French time-of-Richelieu musketeer air about him.
His poem a surprise as usual. It had to do with
a painting at the Phillips Gallery - "Rooftops, you remember?" -
and its anonymous donor. He'd invented a story
concerning the donor's note. The poem was the note.
I remember smiling at the poem, the conceit, at him
as Aramis.
For a while after that I used to tell friends
who viewed the picture the story of the donor's note.
And how I knew. Now I've forgotten the story.
The picture's gone and so is the poet. But
I still remember the lunch. Chinese food, I think.
A cool breeze. And the warmth between us at the time.

Robert Sargent's poetry has been published in many periodicals, including Antioch Review, New York Quarterly, Sou'wester, Poetry East and Poetry. He has eight books, Now Is Always the Miraculous Time (1977); A Woman from Memphis (1979), second printing 1981, second edition 1988); Aspects of a Southern Story (1983, second printing 1987); Fish Galore (1989); The Cartographer (1994); Stealthy Days (1998); The Jazz Poems of Robert Sargent (1999); and Altered in the Telling: The Biblical Poems (2001). He is active in Washington DC poetry affairs and has served as president of the Poetry Committee of the greater Washington Area and president of Washington Writers Publishing House.






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