Poems come, wait, go - rejected, published in magazines, one book, zines, one anthology. I am an Occupational Therapist in a large hospital in Baton Rouge, LA. When off, alone in a room, I work hard to get things right by striking keys. I have two daughters, the love of a good woman, rich, varied days all of which pours into and out of my poems freely as wrens that nest in Ligustrum. Also: edrpoet.com
When the Day Comes
A patient from Solitude, LA, told me
about a spring-fed hole thirty foot deep.
“You can tie a watermelon off, swim,
come back, think it had been in the fridge.
Beer gets shot-cold in fifteen minutes.”
Was a time everybody from S. F. high
spent Senior ditch-day on Bayou Sara.
By May the temp can soar to 90. Shallow
waters tepid on your feet, except for there.
“It’s forgotten now. I can’t, but
sometimes my brothers still go. Fish
on a Saturday: trout, bream, bass.”
So I wonder, should I take Renee?
It is a quarter mile down from a bridge.
Could she manage the walk, bramble,
sheer banks, sloughing sand, slick clay?
She’s dropped in syncope twice
in the last four months. No warning.
Smacked her face. Muscles went limp
like one of those little wood things
you buy - dalmatian or giraffe atop
a circus cylinder. Press thumbs up fast:
the pup collapses. Release;
it pops back up, pert as ever.
Should I dial the cell number the 20-something
gave me at a poetry reading last month?
The one who hunts mushrooms, rock climbs.
She put a picture up on Facebook. Florida beach,
back arched, hair a-tumble, breasts swelling.
Behind her, waves shot tangerine by sunset.
Neither. I will go alone. Wade.
Watch kingfishers rip fish
out of water. Stroke steady strokes.
Flip and float beneath that forest’s
ragged arms as they lean out ready
to take me in if I grow so light
in careless abandon that I float
upward into lucid blue ether.
He said “We used to go all over those hills.
You’ve got cuts up and down Bayou Sara,
gnarly zig-zags of roots and moccasins.
Spiders as wide as a man’s hand,
webs cling to your face and arms.
They’re a rough go but we found
a number of springs where you could
get on your belly, stick your lips out
and draw water so pure you’d never
want to bother tasting anything else.”
He was there again, not with me
in a wheelchair in a hospital gym.
There, below high branches, birds.
Not thinking about pain shooting
through his right hip. There. Sheaves,
flecks, lifted within shafts of tall light.
Not In the Chart
I introduce myself to a black woman on geri-psych,
95 years old, with the face of a lamb.
“I am Bobby’s mother”, she tells me.
“He has a big farm up there ...”
in a place so nondescript
that I can tell her Bobby
hasn’t taken her home in years.
Bobby has cattle, “yards and yards
of cattle. Couldn’t count ‘em.”
She is in a soft, blue sweater.
Her tongue has clipped Cajun rhythms.
I say, “You are from Abbeyville,
so you must know how to cook.”
“Oh, I got a big house there with
furniture in it. You should come.”
The chart said she was transferred
from a nursing home. Wandered off.
They found her in their dumpster filling
her pockets with garbage. Wailing.
We are fast friends. When I
tell her to squeeze my hand
so I can test her strength,
she lifts it like it is a beany baby.
Starts to pump my hand and say,
Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom...”
on and on. She seems both
strangely foreign and
well worth treasuring.
I reenact this for every coworker
the rest of the day. Take it home,
go “boom-boom-boom...” for Renee.
Such splinters of joy being rare as,
say, the coolness fat rain brings
the dead heat of an August noon.
©2015 Ed Ruzicka