Mama

How is it?

You pull and take—

yet under your control

we barely find, not make,

tomorrow, so slim,

my heart tries to keep

rhythm within, do you…

know why we cry?

Mama?

Um, yes, forgive me,

I ask, as you dance

across the sky.

Death, and My Whimper

Go to hell,

enjoy it he said.

Umm, ok.

I will if you insist.

Beware,

he cautioned,

others have been so smug.

Yes, I know.

They have taught me well.

Who do you think you are?

I am just a poor man.

Then why do you bother me so?

Oh my good friend Devil,

Don’t cha know,

I have beauty in my veins.

Never Look Directly at the Sun

Mom kinda overdid it.

As the eclipse approached

she made it all too clear:

if I dared go outside and look up,

blindness would follow.

I spent that darkening,

cowering under

the dining room table,

a terrified four year old,

waiting for the nemesis to pass.

Oddly, my elderly mother

is now nearly blind –

And I remain curious as to the secrets

hidden just off center, if

we dare glance at the Sun.

You?

Longing for the Wrack Line

When I get back

I’ll peel off to the left

leaving the congregation

of sun worshipers

gathered at the foot of the stairs

to their plastic coolers

and tanning lotions,

each sand sinking step,

a push further into a precious

solitude dotted with terns

and sandpipers.

The rhythmic drone

of pounding surf will fill

a shrinking headspace

as the burning soles

of both feet seek

the cool wet sands

where each wave tumbles,

tossing seaweed, stone, shell,

then releases, then returns,

a perpetual succession,

the elemental communion

beyond the wrack line.


(In response to The Amplification Effect, no. 7)

Pirating

North Branch by Richard Reeve

My grandfather,

before I was school aged,

would take me tromping

through the woods.

I’d carry

a short fishing rod

and a kreel.

When we reached

the crik, a tiny stream

even then I could jump

in places,

onto the hook

he would place

a kernel of corn,

then proceed

to show me

where to drop the line

so the bait would be pulled

to where he suspected

a trout lay in wait.

To lift a brookie!

a tiny trout, no more

than seven inches,

bounty from the stream.

With six small fish

added to the kreel,

our lunch secured,

we’d head deeper

into the woods

to the remnants

of abandoned homesteads,

the stone foundations

all that remained.

We’d turn the soil

with a hand shovel.

until a bottle or tin can

from the previous century

emerged.

When we meet again

the first thing I’ll ask:

Grandpa, when can we

go pirating again?