Snuggling Up with a Half Quart

snuggling up with a half quart of Cherry Pie, sliced down the middle
half burnt and looking at my hands
trying not to reach bottom
trying to make it last but

when an earthworm bumps into
another earthworm as surely they must
at one time or another do they say
hello, funny bumping into you here

please, please let me hold you
let me hold you for a moment
don’t avert your gaze
don’t sing a song i don’t know

a slice of cherry pie cracked in
the middle is something
to think about along with
half burnt and earthworms but

every week or so i will return
and you will ask me to stay
and i will say i never left
but you will know, you will

know i don’t love you
because i am just a comma
in your life a comma before
like a bottle of half burnt

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Snuggling Up with a Half Quart

Please Timmy

Crossing Wabash on State, heading toward Michiganold woman sitting on a bency
I’m watching a bird, too small to be a gull
probably a swallow, swooping towards the river
at two in the afternoon, the morning chill receding

“Timmy, hey Timmy, over here.”
It could be anyone she’s calling, but
I think it’s me so I make it a point to ignore
She stood and waddled toward me, arms open.

“Timmy, where’d you go. It’s been so long.
They told me you died. They were wrong, I knew.
You’re back. Come let me look at you.”
I should hurry past, but her sadness was heavy.

“Please, Timmy, don’t leave me again, my heart’s
been broken so long, so very long and I’ve been
damning God every day for doing such a thing.
but you’re here. God has forgiven me.”

Walking toward her I said, “I’m not Timmy.”
She wasn’t crying, but her dark, eyes were wet.
She looked so worried, so afraid, so hurt
It was right to tell her “I’m not your son.”

“‘Course you are. I know. I’m sorry. It’s Timothy.
Even when you was little you didn’t  like Timmy.
Nobody listened. Even then you was so grown up.
You’re lookin’ the same as you always did.”

“When was the last time you saw your son?”
“Oh my boy, you couldn’t forget that, the tears.
You didn’t want to leave your poor mama, I knew.
And Korea’s such God forsaken, but you’re here.

“Give your Momma a hug, Timmothy. It’s been too long.”
I gave her a hug. She smelled of stale things,
cigarettes, wet cardboard, and orange peels.
“Gotta run, mom, but I’ll see you tomorrow.

Maybe it was a cruel thing to do, maybe not.
For the next month or so I avoided that place
I hoped she was happy thinking she saw her son
but I felt bad she was never going to see him again.

As I walked away she called, “Timmy remember this”
and she started singing. “Peg o’my heart
I love you, don’t let us part
I love you, I always knew it would be you…”

I remembered a friend back in Viet Nam.
Something had exploded behind him knocking
him to the ground, unconscious.
Shrapnel scattered across his back.

I looked him up when I got out.
He was mostly okay, with a little limp,
but couldn’t remember any of it.
Funny I remembered his name. It was Tim.

Please Timmy

Since the Middle of Yesterday

raindrops racing down the window glass
I am betting on the smaller one
although it does not look likely
as many are frighteningly large

Puddles in the yard are formingraindrops on a window
as the white birch bends in supplication
to the demanding wind howling in
sodden anger at the world in general

It is a dark and scurrious day indeed
keeping me from my desired rounds
of walking the dog and grocery shopping
for which I can only hope a small break

It has been like this since the middle
of yesterday’s formerly sunny afternoon
when the dog was chasing a squirrel
running across the fencetop, an omen

Squirrels do not stay to face the dog
unless the weather portends otherwise
and you could see it in the distance
the beginning of the darkness

like a child telling his first lie
you can see what is yet far away
already racing into your surroundings
unless you squelch the impending danger

quickly take all that is clean and bright
and clutch it tightly to your heart
even though you still feel the dampness
and teach it to stay warm and safe

So that while the blackness rages
you can still stand at the window
betting raindrops in laughter
knowing the small one will win

Since the Middle of Yesterday

A Single Leaf

with the sun settinga leaf on the path
the forest in deepening shadow
feeling the growing coolness
I hear the crackling sound
of a single leaf being crushed
somewhere behind me
and I tense in anticipation
thinking it is you
having changed your mind

waiting and listening
all my senses taught
there is not another sound
until the dog licks my hand
ready to accompany me
on my last walk
through the woods
on the path
leading away
from you

A Single Leaf

Happy Maybe New Year

Snow on the mountaintopshappy new year 2015
cold and seeing my breath
drifting away like an old year
as I inhale gently

thinking of resolutions
there should be one at least
to tell those expecting
great things, little things

perhaps an old standby
lose weight – maybe a pound
get in shape – like an eggplant
wake up earlier – how’s ten sound?

the gravel crunches as I walk
just enjoying the noise
as it echoes quietly
and I remember last year

My resolution was the same
just make it through
no easy task considering
but its calculated optimism

A long ago friend died
driving home New Years morning
too many years ago
but I always remember

just another day really
is this January first
yet like another birthday
a reminder about
setting up another round

Happy Maybe New Year