'Consolation' – A poem by Gary Margolis



Don’t expect my friend Karl Lindholm

to be sitting next to you at the end

of a close basketball game.

The clock winding down


to red, double zeros.

Don’t be surprised if you find him,

across the gym, near the free

nosebleed seats, chatting and pacing


nonchalantly. As if it doesn’t matter

who wins, which it does.

As if a game’s all in good fun,

Which might be true, if it wasn’t


our team who’s playing.

Trying to win a W, beat

the brains out of a team

whose bus is starting to warm-up


in the parking lot.

If my mother were here,

she’d say my friend Karl

had “spilkes,” Yiddish


for antsy. Or “ants-in-your pants”

if she was speaking American

vernacular. She could have said

nervous or anxious, words


closer to how she felt saying

good-bye to me anytime

it was time for me to step

onto a bus. Wave behind


a window. Whether our love

was anything we lost or won.

Which is too much to be

thinking this afternoon


filing out after the game,

watching the players

below us, winners and losers

high-fiving each other.


While I’m wondering, I expect,

where in the world is our Waldo.

So we can find the right words

to console him.

— Gary Margolis, Cornwall

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