Milton Ehrlich

Milton Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 88- year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published many poems in periodicals such as The London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times.


First Touch

Birds perched on her shoulder,
snakes curled in her arms.
She limned the spirit of stones
by their shape, size and heft.

We puzzled over
“Asphodel, That Greeny Flower”
on the bank of the Iowa River,
green as the hills from Galway to Dublin.

Thunder rumbled.

We ran to a lone phone booth.
Rain gushed down, windows fogged
in an intimacy of flashing lights
and oak-cleaving thunderbolts.

Her fingers inquired, pulling, and pushing,
testing the limits.
Like Helen Keller, her touch
reconnoitered the world of my hand.

Dreaming or awake, all I know now
is whenever it rains, I’m ready to mate.


Fountain of Youth

Every time I pass a pond,
lake or fast-moving stream,
I draw a deep breath—
remembering my Father.

He looked half his age
when he fished for trout.
Lines in his worried face
melted away, fully absorbed
in the moment.

Serene as Lama Zopa Rinpoche
in Vipassana meditation,
he focused like a laser beam
on speckled trout in the stream.

He fly-cast like a seasoned
Orvis-trained fisherman,
casting a nymph-baited rod
with the artistic finesse
of an Alvin Ailey performer.

Bottles of Rheingold beer
cooled in the stream,
and a salami sandwich,
held him until savoring
Mom’s trout amandine
after he got home.

He never grew old
clinging to his rod,
as if it were a youthful
extension of his manhood.

© 2020 Milton Ehrlich