Thursday, July 7, 2016

Your Father's Funeral

I cried when you called me on the phone
and told me the very moment he took his last breath,
your father, who I helped feed and watched you
change his soiled sheets.  I moved in to help you
help him and somewhere in there,
between the many pills and breathing machines,
we lost our own pulses. It's a race now for our
own time.  Locked-jaw and hell-bent
to see it no other way but our own.
All left in a hurry and I was left in the house
where your father died among his essence.
There was no magnanimous longing
between your sadness, just busying with
final arrangements, you say;
however, suffice to say, finally free
from watchful eyes, those mine
and your surly father's--now that there are
no sheets to wash, no bed to make.
So you took up smoking and drinking again
with the help of your brothers--duplicates
of each other. Because of loss and grief,
sadness came back in your solitary, black suitcase.
We both moved slowly in our shadows,
undressing in the dark, when you told me
you have yet to cry--a boy's memory
left on the mantelpiece so long ago.
Maybe now we can get back to each other
but you were away too long from yourself
way before your parent's illnesses
and far from center to even know where
it all begins and ends for you.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Man Who Lives on the Crooked Lane

There is a man who lives slantingly
with an uneven sky peeking
through missing teeth
of the Venetian blinds

Has a yellow dog that
half yawns & half wags
walks sideways like a
sidewinder snake

Lampshades leaning
gaping open 
on one side 
blanched light exposing
dusty bookshelves

A china set from the 70s
of beige ochre flowers
stacked sensibly
in warped cabinets

Memories of many 
women & children
who came & went there
are buried in the backyard

Along with the handprint 
of my daughter
in the sidewalk
& the year 2011 
spelled out with
sea shells 

Clucking black chickens 
lay eggs in the overgrown garden
hasn't been tilled in years
wiry weeds growing between
the rusty fence

The lanai still has his
toilet bowl planter
& dingy wooden windchimes
keepsakes from
three relationships ago
spanning thirteen years

One day his creeky bones 
will move away
from the crooked lane
or die there with his
crumbling knick knacks
& unraveling wicker chair
propped up on one side
with a cement block