(From a work in progress)
The heart knew it was 55 years ago that you last went to that restaurant with your uncle. Do you say something to him?
Probably not because back then you were a child who was too small to even look out of the backseat of his car and see the snow covered streets, streets with no one but children who had been forced from their home during another Sunday night alcohol fueled rage. Do you say something, hoping he would remember?
Do you look at him and realize that back then he was barely more than a teenager himself, so young and proud of his red 1963 Chevy with back then unheard of features of automatic windows and doors. I drove all the way from the city to pick up the kids, your uncle said, so they wouldn’t be walking in that empty field or the swamp.
You look at your uncle and realize he’s nearly 80 now. You look at his hands that have had dozens of operations from damage done during the lifespan of a laborer.
Yet he still has that boyish smile, the quick wit, the quick temper.
But he’s 80 and you’re not eight years old anymore. You have a career, an education, a loving kind spouse.
But this is a gratitude 55 years in the making , for taking a child off the street that night, making jokes, buying hot chocolate, anything other than spending a cold winter night alone outside.
You can’t say thank you for that to an 80-year-old uncle. You just can’t. You’ve never spoken about it.
You reach across the table, take the check, walk to the counter and pay.
A few years ago, I found this old rough draft of a poem I started after we had moved. I keep losing it and then finding it. This time, I won’t lose it, but I will revise, edit, and work on the poem. There is something to the “moving on” theme that is compelling–maybe escape is the correct term?
In any case, thanks for reading.
Note: …..many stanzas before this…won’t post here so I can publish one day… and took out middle stanzas
Memories, you said. I cannot move.
These have been
the best years of my life here.
How can you say that, I asked,
not wanting to see the paint-peeled walls
or the missing tiled floors even one more time.
They were my years with you, you said.
Today I looked for photos
I am sure I threw away in my
haste to leave and I wonder
how I could have been so cruel
how can I
live with such moving love?
What a pleasure to find an old rough draft of a poem on an old flash drive. I was looking for a document when I found this, simply titled: “Work on this poem.”
So I will work on this poem. I’m not sure about the rhetorical questions or who the “you” in the poem is, but I like a bit of mystery.
It starts like this…
wrap blistered feet.
Earthbound, I walk
How would I drive?
Bridges stop around curves,
hidden in the fog or dust
a glimpse of surprised faces
into the wide river of our poetry.
Where could I drive?
Then it goes on, but I won’t post more since I want to revise and rework to submit.
Thanks for reading.
And from the Iphone app no less!
Why Strangers Wept
Did darkness heal or was it
holding hands at noon
with a small boy who
needed a nap?
Was it the sun
or the silence of the moon
that lifted it all, just a bit.
Maybe it was someone
the smaller child and knew
why strangers wept.
On the street, a young girl
skipped then ran then walked
while humming, purple ribbon
escaping black hair.
Parking here to edit and revise
The woods, late spring
pond at sunsets
white tail pulled down
new leaves. The hawk flew low
Over the walking path
my shadow squat and low
no hooves, no wild thing.
Even the blue jay flew low
that night, while grasshoppers
jumped quickly across the path
my short shadowed sadness and dread
belied the flood of gold.