Richard King Perkins II
I am an advocate for people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities but prior to that, I owned and operated an antique and collectible mall. I live in Crystal Lake IL with my wife Vickie and daughter Sage. I was a sprinter in high school and college but now the best I can manage is a slow jog. My poetry has appeared in Crannog, Bluestem, Roanoke Review and The William and Mary Review.
In the latest evening,
an unremarkable brown duck returns
from a night foraging,
expecting to find her eggs just as she left them.
Taken to ground, she settles upon her nest,
hardly to blink for all the next day.
She’ll never think about the man
who rushed from his house in a hailstorm
to cover her roost with a window-well protector
until danger had ebbed away.
Days later, as she fidgets and squirms,
trying to keep her hatchlings safe
beneath her for a few hours more,
the man is pleased.
And when she leads her young to the river,
she has no time for good-byes or thank-yous,
cannot consider miracles or moments of transcendence--
or what hope means to a human being
and how thankful we are for it
even when there is no one left to thank.
Kites over Chasms
Friend, when you reminisce
on all the splendid times we shared growing up,
I must confess that I cannot recall many
of the instances you hold cherished
in your so-true heart.
I ask myself if my memory could be so poor.
Looking in your eyes once more,
I discern an absence of fond memories
since our childhood that keeps
your youthful remembrances so vital.
I am sorry I cannot recall times
of haunted-houses and G.I. Joes as you,
but come, let us find string
to fly your bat-kite
over the fields of my lost innocence.
Ice Cream & Circuses
I’ve always been more of a vanilla person
while having the rare dalliance with chocolate.
Strawberry ice cream is an exotic flavor
a bit beyond my experience and understanding.
As I remember it, the kids who favored chocolate
were pleasure-seekers of the highest order,
decadent sybarites consumed with finding
their next new source of indulgence.
My group, the vanilla kids, was always a bit
more reserved. We just wanted to blend in,
have a little quiet fun, watch the chocolate kids
from the sidelines as they babbled and ranted
before hyperventilating into a teary meltdown.
Then there was that strange little third group--
the strawberry children. Like being left-handed
or having red hair; the hard-to-figure ten percent.
They weren’t overbearing or subdued. They didn’t
ramble, they weren’t reticent. They were just
sort of quietly joyful. When I was six or seven, I
went to the circus for the first time with my great
aunt. I’m talking about the big circus, not some
cheap imitation traveling tent show.
Vividly, I recall how the chocolate kids would
hysterically scream until they passed out, while
the vanilla kids would be wide-eyed with fear,
crying themselves into an exhausted sleep.
Just before my eyes involuntarily closed, I could see
the only children still functioning were strawberry. I
couldn’t tell whether it was the ice cream or the children
that possessed special powers of control and endurance.
The only thing I ever figured out was that those
strawberry kids, so assured, so implacable, were
rewarded with mountains of ice cream, unimaginable worlds of pink frozen confection. And that they smiled with cold, sugary lips at fallen scoops of malcontented dreamers.
The Black Button
It could become
part of a teddy bear or snowman
but it’s held the portion of my coat
nearest my heart together for three years
and there’s no reason
for major alterations at this time.
In the still darkness of morning,
I stand in front of her
as she sews the button back in place.
She grimaces when she sees
that the thread she thought
was black is instead brown.
She worries that the contrasting
blossom of thread will spoil
the polished elegance of my coat.
I kiss the top of her head
and remind her it’s not
the color of the string that matters,
it’s only the attachment that counts.
©2015 Richard King Perkins II