I'm a retired teacher and school administrator and I've written poetry, seriously and less than seriously, since I was a teenager. It's only recently that I've taken seriously the idea of sharing my poems beyond these four walls—where they're met with great acclaim by my wife and sometimes by my daughter—and my poems have appeared in journals, e-zines, and anthologies. My chapbook, Exactly Like Love, will be published in May 2016 by Osedax Press. (Or, at least that's what those good folks tell me!)
Waiting For Flowers
The married men who get on line have worked their jobs all day,
their weariness palpable and worn in rumpled overcoats,
though some are buttoned-down, but shoulders plenty slouched;
others, younger, maybe more upwardly-bound, tilt imperceptibly
toward the side they carry their attaches, heavy with the same work
lugged home the day before and day before.
Though we promised we’d try to knock off early,
it’s near 7:00 already and time’s moving too fast and too slow
and the line’s snaking out the door by now,
the ones at the end have replaced us-- the poor suckers
we’re glad to see to mark how far we’ve traveled
though we seem to have gotten nowhere quick--
even as the early-arrivers squeeze out past us,
their bunches of roses wrapped in wet paper but clutched like baseball bats
the way men of old would bear their treasure safely into the dark.
Not much sound from us who wait; men don’t say much.
It’s cold enough for the cold to swallow even the sighs
that sometimes come unbidden.
Once someone leaves the line
with a shrug that says, Fuck it, and the rest shake their heads
in awe at the homesick G.I. gone mad
who charges unarmed and naked into the sniper’s nest.
We know this is where we must be, Valentine’s Night,--
and we know the clock is ticking, maybe a nice dinner waiting,
the baby put down early, maybe candlelight, soft music,
who knows, a classical disk passed down from a long dead uncle,
wine, a nice bottle, a gift from a neighbor,
but surely as we stand here, surely as the twenty in our fist,
there is an empty vase upon the table waiting.
©2016 Alan Walowitz