Wednesday, May 24, 2017

On the Eve of my daughter's graduation: in which I wax nostalgic, and pray

high school graduation
coming back to town from the 
job that I'd already started 

      (summer camp lifeguard
      isn't that the dream)

we walked in the ceremony
moving tassels from one side
to the other
after awkwardly shaking hands with 
   the principal
   the superintendent
   maybe a coach?
            (it was texas, after all)
and then we left in our cars

up and down the main street
stopping here and there
      houses, parks, stores
somehow I recognized at the time, that the
freedom from adulthood, coupled with a
responsibility to nothing but learning
   born by us middle class high school students
was a vanishing gift
   which we hadn’t fully appreciated

in the morning I left … again
off to new life at camp,
new life at college


now I see it from another side
and I hope her memories are good
      her foundation is solid
            her future is full of new life

Grief: after the death of Love

Like the broken chips settled to the bottom of the bag
a remnant of something
    that was once valued
they're no longer worth reaching for

Like the ground underfoot
Terra Firma, constantly reliable
   the foundation of everything
until the earthquake
rips away what once felt solid
    leaving no point of reliable reference

Like diving into the deep end
    to pick up pennies tossed there
how many can you get?
    one, two, three, four ... probably one more
but your breath's suddenly gone
    and you're still twelve feet down
frantic, clawing the water
    there's not enough traction to move quickly up
  you're where you don't belong
    and you have to escape
the panic hangs on even 
    when you're back on solid ground

Like an infant wailing for mom
    who's only just gone to the grocery store
    a ten minute trip for mom
but an infant's eternity, anticipating
    an isolation that may never end

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

April Hike through the Woods

Autumn leaves
recently freed from
Winter's frozen blanket
probably did crunch underfoot
before the snow fell

today, though, they soften
our steps, cushion our footfalls;
until the trail descends,
we walk easily

as we begin to lose elevation
our steps are slower, more cautious
conversation pausing, while our
concentration turns to
hoping friction is strong enough
to hold in place
autumn's leaves under our feet

but when the down is done
and every next step
is level with the one before
the Trail becomes once again
what carpet only dreams about