Joshua Bocher’s Sartrean Moons

Frozen Life

“There is nothing left for you here.”

The head of this shadowy figure
Tilts towards the ground.

Salt is scattered about,

The snow a blinding mirror,

Human figures in the distance
Tiny as the hairs on his chin,
Visiting from
An old Chinese painting.


Queen of All Under Heaven

The moon reigns over the night sky,
Queen of all under heaven.

The stars serve her:
What she wants, she gets.

I stand below the kingdom
As the clouds cry tears.

With nothing to shield myself
I can’t find my way home.

The wind freezes, the air is still,
My breath is a dry cough.

I think of my love so far away
And feel colder still,

But on the surface of the moon
I spot her lovely smile.

I melt, evaporate, rise
To kiss her.


They were Writing Sartre Down, Just in Case

They were writing Sartre down, just in case,
Those two French-looking philosopher types,
One short and skinny, the other tall and fat.
I understood the impulse.
It was one of those days.

I myself, after spotting the bear
In the building lobby,
Ran out crazed into the street.

Outside, two teenagers yelled,
“Is that a tiger?”
And the squalid security officer shrugged, saying,
“It’s a leopard,”
As if that were any less dangerous.

Above me the barrel of a rifle peeked out of a window,
But in the dark
The snipers didn’t have a clear shot.
The leopard skulked away,
And I headed for the bright lights of the supermarket.

Crowds, crowds, crowds of people there.
It was infuriating, maddening, and sweet,
Seeing them together, huddled shoulder to shoulder.

I think my wife may never forgive me,
When the cute girl who works there
With the jangling bracelets on her wrists
Touches my hand and says,
“If you have a coupon you’ve been meaning to use,
Now’s the time to use it.”
It was one of those days.

The philosophers made it too, apparently.
When a big-chested hawk on aisle seven
Squawked at them, they stopped
Their furious scribbling.
I waltzed over and peeked at the bottom.
Hell is other people, it said.
I understood the impulse,
It was one of those days.


—by Joshua Bocher

Copyright© 2021, Joshua Bocher. All Rights Reserved

Joshua Bocher’s poetry has appeared in such journals as Illuminations, Burningword, and Boston Literary Magazine. He lives with his wife in Boston, MA, where he works as a Communications Specialist. Aside from his literary interests, he enjoys meditation, reading about psychology, and practicing Mandarin Chinese.

Joshua Bocher’s Sartrean Moons
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