Accounting • Martin Willitts Jr.


My accountant father drifted into the numberless
where things are added and subtracted,
where things are accounted for.

His name was on a ledger, like all of ours.
Whatever he did, he did alone,
just like we do whatever we do alone.

There is no difference in this.
Before our journey begins or continues,
our heart weighs less than a penny nail

or more than countless stars, and what we carry
is what we have always been carrying,
no matter how secretly, no matter what others proclaim.


How we depart is not up to us.
How we are seen is not up to us.
How we are spoken about is not up to us.

Our life is nomadic. The way we go on
is not up to us. The way we expire
on a timer, is not up to us.

Doctors and their tubes of electricity,
their numerous degrees and medicines,
their measured landscapes of flat lines,

the paramedic giving Breath Of Life,
the clergy offering understanding,
the man rouging our face, do not decide.

When a decision is made, nothing stops it.
When a decision is made nothing else matters ---
no negotiations, no second chances, nothing.


Enter a cathedral of a plane, lifting
its wings, an albatross
parting sunlight like hospital curtains,

out of the tarmac, a white seagull,
rising its metal hull to Valhalla, into air,
a clear voice reassuring it is alright.


Giving away things was easy, saying nothing.
His shoes were worn out from saying nothing.
His voice was an empty closet --- silence hung there.

Later this silence would haunt me: nothing, nothing, nothing.
Rooms with no sounds reverberating: nothing, nothing, nothing.
The sum total of his life was nothing

What does my tally sheet look like? Why do things
continue with or without us? Simple things
become complex, then becoming simple, again and again.

I have a boarding pass, where loss and found are departments.
I have hopelessness and hope, finding both restless.
My heart is an Etruscan playing double pipes.


Martin Willitts Jr recent poems appeared in Naugatuck River Review, MiPOesias, Flutter,, Muse Café, and Caper Journal. He was recently nominated for two Best of The Net awards and his 5th Pushcart award. He has new chapbooks include: “The Girl Who Sang Forth Horses” (Pudding House Publications, 2010), “Van Gogh’s Sunflowers for Cezanne” (Finishing Line Press, 2010), “True Simplicity” (Poets Wear Prada Press, 2011), “My Heart Is Seven Wild Swans Lifting” (Slow Trains, 2011), “Why Women Are A Ribbon Around A Bomb” (Last Automat, 2011), and “Art Is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees” (Muse Café, 2011).