For Bob Borchard
by John Aylesworth
In Guysville, the old hotel he converted
into a house frowned and shuddered
and I hope he haunts it, with laughter
and music and sketches of the hills around.
He taught art, celebrated the world each Spring
when the country bloomed and the birds came home,
opened his studio to anyone.
A painting he made of a ship
in a storm crashing outside Buffalo
reminds me of 1969
when we lived there, not knowing each other,
and I found poetry and dance classes
and a woman who never believed in me.
Thirty years later, I met Bob
when we were waltzing with other women
in a place where memories like shipwrecks
are sunk in the mud and sand of the past
but tonight are as near as an old house
with fields and a river and Spring beside it.
Process notes: The poem was prompted by the death of a man I knew more through friends than personally, although we had more experiences in common than I knew. He was always kind and generous when we saw each other in recent years: perhaps because we did have much in common.
John Aylesworth teaches kids who can’t go to public school for reasons such as severe handicaps or for punching the principal. When he graduated from Ohio University with an M.A. in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Comparative Arts, he stayed in Southeast Ohio and raised a family. He’s had poems and stories published a number of journals in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia.