Twice now this week
I have woken from dreams
They are filled with meeting new people and
Sharing meals and conversations,
Airports and brownstone neighborhoods.
But I have no idea why Chicago
Though I do have two beloveds living there.
My nightly adventures could not be more different
Than this quiet life,
Near woods and water
In the back hills of the Missouri Ozarks.
No busy streets with milling folk,
Street lights or traffic noise here.
But the dreams feel so real
It makes me consider astral projection.
And I wonder if I should check my pockets
For L train tickets
Or notes written on the back of receipts
From fine restaurants along the magnificent mile.
The passion of spring awakes
with the blooming of the serviceberry,
first blooms for the early spring graves.
The rocky paths are soon strewn,
not with palm fronds,
but the blown blossoms of redbuds,
a confetti of papery pinks and faded roses.
Earth’s resurrection promise
is finally in full view
as the dogwoods bring forth their flowers,
decorating the hillsides
in Christ’s wounds.
I’m making a list of 1001 things that make me happy.
Because somewhere along the road,
I have forgotten how.
To be happy.
Its not your fault.
I would not have you back
To suffer the indignities of the last two years-
The bed, the diapers, someone washing you and feeding you,
Bob lifting you up because your legs forgot how to hold you.
We held you
and I would not change a thing.
I don’t grieve your death
Only your absence.
I want to remember your eyes and hands
And that you were ready for fun and ice cream and new birds calling to you from the cedars
And the sound of your voice singing
And laughing with Daddy laughing.
And laughing when we were all laughing.
And singing and laughing.
I am from breakfasts in the watermelon shed
Dr Pepper and pear preserves
made of the knobby fruit from the side yard tree
Hot humid summer nights with pallets on the floor
populated by long legged, freckle nosed cousins
From sturdy Texas stock and dog people, mostly English setters
and crazy long tailed pointers
I am from Baylor homecomings and tearful home goings
I am from Albertine and LeeRoy
I am from tall pines, dark swamps
and paper mills with their pungent smell
Fish fries in Crossett Park and tea parties with delicate china cups
I am from church on Sunday crowded with great aunts and uncles
and quarters to place in the collection plate
From armadillos, white tailed deer and tail-less blue jays
And from trips to the graves at Promise Land
I am from the kids table at Thanksgiving
I am from John Henry and Marie
I am from prairie dog towns and bluebonnet Springs
From family dinners and station wagon road trips
Moving boxes and new school rooms
From brothers and beagles and capture the flags
I am from swimming pools and man made lakes and creosote creek
Home movies and John Wayne and Swiss Family Robinson
I am from Tammy and Old Rugged Cross and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
From special occasions and occasions made special
I am from her songs and his laughter
I am from Rose and John L.
*** I publish this poem again today in memory of my parents,
John L. Gresham 8/1/30 – 4/10/94
Rose A. Gresham 6/1/31- 4/26/16
I miss them everyday but I am proud of their legacy of love for their family and friends.