who is camera-shy, is co-author (with wife Joan I. Siegel) of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books).
His poems have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including The American Scholar, The New Criterion, The Literary Review, Rattle, The Cumberland Poetry Review, Poet Lore, Poetry East, The Atlanta Review and Salmagundi, as well as several anthologies.
He teaches at the State University of New York-Orange in Middletown, New York.
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A Painting by Max Siegel
It is his loneliest one.
It was a beautiful day today. It was mild. There was a breeze, firm but gentle. It pushed the crowns of the trees the way a father pushes a daughter in a swing. The rhododendrens were in bloom. The bees were busy in them. The peonies were starting to unknot. The sky was fresh with bright blue. The clouds were white and soft. They floated like flower petals on the pond of sky. I heard the song of wrens as they sang in their house in the beech.
It was beautiful today. My daughter made beautiful swings in the swing. My wife made beautiful sounds at the piano. I thought beautiful things in the chair on the lawn. I wanted to scream. I screamed a long, loud, one-voweled, unconsonanted scream. Then I screamed a second scream. Then I screamed a third scream.
The telephone rang. It was my neighbor. He wanted to know if everything was all right. I said the day was so beautiful I wanted to scream. He said, Ah, I understand and hung up.
A police car arrived. The officer knocked on the front door. He said he received a report of three loud screams. I said the day was so beautiful I wanted to scream. He said, Ah, I understand and drove away.
A fire truck pulled into my driveway. Three firemen jumped off. They had axes in their hands. They said they got a call about a fire. I pointed to my heart. It was still burning in my chest. They could see the glow through my skin. They said, Ah, we understand and left, leaving me standing there burning and glowing, burning, glowing.