Robert W. Crawford


At the Reception

Strategically, he stood by the buffet.
A minor crowd and I grazed on hors d’oeuvres.
He scanned the room and sipped his cabernet.
I drank an IPA to calm my nerves.

When I said, “Hi,” and he replied with “Hi,”
I saw an almost imperceptible
reptilian shutter flick across his eye.
He brushed his sleeve of charcoal worsted wool,

and looked across my shoulder. I saw him nudge
his friend—an aide?—“So, who’s that girl in blue?”
I moved along, not one to hold a grudge.
She left the room, and, shortly, he did too.

Robert W. Crawford has published two books of poetry, The Empty Chair (2011 Richard Wilbur Award), and Too Much Explanation Can Ruin a Man (2005). His sonnets have twice won the Howard Nemerov Sonnet  Award. His poems have appeared in many national journals, including The Formalist, First Things, Dark Horse, The Raintown Review, The Lyric, Measure, Light, and Forbes. He is a long-time member of the Powow River Poets of Newburyport, MA. Currently, he is the Director of Frost Farm Poetry in Derry, NH, which includes the Hyla Brook Reading Series, the Frost Farm Poetry Conference, and the national Frost Farm Poetry Prize.  He was named Derry, NH’s first Poet Laureate in January 2017. He lives in Chester, NH, with his wife, the poet Midge Goldberg.