Author’s Note: It’s finally spring, the world renewing itself yet again. And strangely, I find myself thinking about the past, memory serving as another kind of renewal, however tenuous and faint.
On the corner, a lamppost
climbing to the clouds,
a mailbox painted like a peacock,
bushes where we stashed our loot.
We knew every shortcut
through the trees, leapt over roofs
without once breaking our legs
on the long way down.
We knew how to climb and run.
Fathers chased us and cursed.
We blew smoke rings at the moon.
Girls giggled as wind tangled their hair.
Our skinned knees throbbed and bled.
Sometimes we watched owls circle the sky
on summer nights as our mothers
called and called. We hardened
our hearts, pushing away all thoughts of home.
Bring back the sun
my son texts me,
though instead of the word he uses
a smiling sun emoji. It’s snowing hard,
distant pines faded into ghostly shadows.
The mountains have completely
disappeared. I think of you, your ashes
in the snowy woods, how you loved
summer, took winter as a personal affront.
Cold has lasted so long, the air clean
and brittle, lakes frozen hard.
Outside, the wind and rough grating
of the plows. So much to get through still,
yet in this room, comfortable and warm.
Food in the fridge, wine on the rack,
a fire dancing in the hearth.
So many blessings in a troubled world.
Bring back the sun, let it shine on everyone.
Let it light up the sky over El Paso, let it sparkle
in the Rio Grande. Open your arms, let the waters flow.
Whenever She’s Awake
We said goodbye at the hospital.
You asked me what was wrong,
why you couldn’t wake up.
Tell me about your father, I said.
He was a dentist, you said.
You didn’t want to talk about him,
just about your doctor,
who you said had never shown up.
You had things to discuss with her
about your health, your dying.
She was a kind woman with children
of her own, you said, and you liked
the way she spoke to you, slowly,
enunciating each word so you could hear.
Tell me about your mother, I said,
and you said she died. They separated us
and she went away to die. I had a son,
she said. I think he still lives but
I’m too tired now. Find him for me please,
we have much to discuss.
What do I do with my pictures, my clothes,
my pre-Columbian art?
The hospice nurse comes in. Ah good,
she says, you’re here. She likes that,
likes to talk, don’t you think, whenever she’s awake?
© 2019 Steve Klepetar
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