How the Losers Love What's Lost
by Patrick Ryan Frank
paper, 80 pages, $15.95
Winner of the Four Way Books Intro
Prize selected by Alan Shapiro
Each of them missed his moment, felt it pass
like a body moving through an unlit room.
The grandfather clock clicks through the minutes, bangs
the hours, and they, in their old-fashioned hats
and dull black jackets, pace the upstairs halls,
practicing the words they should have said:
another Stop, another I'll sober up.
And in their murky heads, they run through all
the cues they missed, the marks they didn't hit.
Some times—on certain weeknights when it's rained—
they gather in attics, unused nurseries,
and they rehearse like actors. Together, they sit
and thumb their scripts, dog-eared and yellow. The play
is titled Living, and it starts in the dark
with a knock on a heavy door. Then, a voice:
Darling, darling, I have something to say.