The McKinley Review Magazine

Lacrimae Rerum 

By: Robert Klein Engler | Posted on: August 2018 

Down by the river, by the broken cement landing,

I park my car, look out, and have an old man’s cry.

They say St. Thomas had the woeful gift of tears,

that the human condition would sometimes

overwhelm him and the river of salt swelled

up the way the river swells after too much spring

rain, to overflow the banks in a rush of mud.


We often look to nature for the metaphors that

mirror our emotional states, so tears and the river

oft appear in poems, but we have degraded

that sentiment in the millennial age of relativism.

Still, even at this late date, and with dulcet words

that aspire to effortlessly relay the heart’s hold


I could say to you I have found an unexpected

love, a love that balances here like a ball

on a needle, one that hopes not for children or

goes hand-in-hand into old age, it’s just that we

are particulars and love the particular, that's

why scripture uses the Latin word dilictus


to talk about the love the Lord had for his apostles.

It means to pick out one from many, and who

may explain this as we haul water from the well

or close the levee. There is a storm on the way.

Who knows what’s to come after, a few may do.

It’s already raining, and headed east towards you.


Robert Klein Engler lives in Omaha, Nebraska and sometimes New Orleans. He is a writer and artist. Robert holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana and the University of Chicago Divinity School. He has received Illinois Arts Council awards for his poetry. Just google his name to find his writing on the Internet. Michael Morgan, writing in the Comstock Review, says that Robert Klein Engler " a poet of the first rank,” whereas Andrew Huff writes in Gaper's Block that Engler's writings is, “a sublime banquet of bullshit."