John L. Wright


for Jack Cady (1932-2004)

I was well on my way to essays
when you unexpectedly assigned the class a poem.
A love poem, you said,
twenty-five words or less, don’t use the word god
or the word love, and make it honest.

As if conspiring, on the edge of vision a smudge
of green in a wooden bowl—
Granny Smith apples my wife bought for our son,
coming home from college.

Twenty-four words and three couplets later
you couldn’t budge a word or line I had scribbled
on that chalky green-board.

Then came the grateful lover’s remorse: Oh,
where have you been all my life?
Then poetry moved into my files, onto my shelves.
Then my obituary changed.


John L. Wright is a retired physician who wrote his first poem in 1988 at the age of 58. His poems have appeared in eleven anthologies including, Floating Bridge Pontoon Four, Eight,Ten and Review # 5. He has published three collections: Through an Old Wooden Bowl  in 1999 (The Swedish Medical Center Foundation); As Though Praying: Poems from Decatur Island in 2003 and The Beginning of Love in 2005, both self-published by Bluestone Press.  John and his wife, Lanita, have lived on two wooded acres in Woodway, WA. since 1964; here they have raised two sons, five dogs and too many cats to count; here, too, while gardening or landscaping many of his poems have had their beginning.