Memorial Day 2020

Memorial Day at the Lake

Our family’s veterans include great-grand fathers, my grandfather, great uncles, uncles, cousins, brother in law, sister in law, my Dad, my father in law and my husband, Bob. All served their country in war and peace.

And, today especially, we remember Lance Corporal Phillip Vinnedge who was killed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2010, the brother of my beloved niece’s husband.
He was 19 years old.

junk mail

I listen to the men working
on digging a long deep trench
across the road.
Now, no way to get in,
no way to get out.

How appropriate a metaphor
don’t you think-
we are here, either in place
or out in the world,
each with our own freedom in tact.

But we can’t get in or out
of this old world alive,
don’t you know.

And how will the nice lady
who delivers the mail
and gives the small dog treats
ever find her way
with our unasked for mail.

habit forming

He has taken to worry
not something in his wheelhouse
never had a care in the world
It was always my occupation
until I gave worry up for Lent
and forgot to pick it back up

So now he has become a list maker
and a fine print reader
and a washer of hands singing
an extra verse for good measure

I am happily ensconced in his newly acquired habit
as the worry lines behind his mask
accentuate his beautiful blue eyes

translation

I read translations of poetry, books
written in a language I do not understand
which become books of poetry
in my language, I do not understand

I wish I spoke another language.
All I have is this cursive inked stained
language, spoken to my dead parents
and brother when I read prayers and psalms
of a dead king in translation.

I do speak a bit of wildness, river song
and maybe old catfish dialect that no longer
is in fashion or wanted or needed.
But there are times when we sit together,
the small brown sparrows and I

and we can communicate in sign language,
no feeding the birds or stop
look and listen

fortuna

shaded by years of childhood
and myths telling and laughter filling
in blanks I have come to possess
after a lifetime of living these
moments never to hold them close
again losing father then mother then
brother and the certainty of losses
to come I wonder at what life had in
store after all after all
that I had focused instead of
following the trail left
by inclination and desire
the bread crumbs from tables where
I wished to sit and sate
my appetites of word and syntax
and color fortuna

flicker

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

flames flicker still
behind my eyes
though the coals have gone soft
and gray
I rub two lives together
looking for smoke
to rise

burning it down
after building it up
you would think it would get
tiresome
but since I have nothing else to do
I draw plans for the next life
gathering sticks and stones
that will break my bones
and start again

the smell of burnt hair
rises like a halo around my head
I wonder what
my mugshot will look like
smoldering looks
as I give rise to that phoenix
once again