Reflection Under Yellow Sky
Sitting at a counter in the stoplight diner,
I stared out the window, you staring back at me.
The traffic had travelled down FM 202,
Leaving the road dusty, chaff-filled
After the thresher had fed.
Only you kept me company.
In the glass, streaked by age and dirt,
Each line an alluvial fissure, life washing out to sea,
You blurred me in the reflected glare.
The coffee-steamed distortion,
One eye slightly drooped, lowering my sights,
That mouth a gill slit, air gulping the yellow sky,
Hair sprouting like winter wheat shocks missed in the corner field,
I took a sip of my stewed coffee, reflecting.
Appeal to a Photo Album
If the sea seems placid at the curvature of the earth,
I am embedded in a swale.
Could you have known your waves would crash,
Tell me you would tack differently into the wind.
You steering a different path,
Anything, everything might have changed,
The penny copper Kodachrome
Captures you, aperture wide,
Wearing your naval cap atilt
Like a ship at flood tide,
Buoyed by rising seas,
You smile, a battle won,
As if the cresting wave far out to sea knows its destiny upon a distant beach.
the phone shrieking,
a warped door creaking shut.
“It’s over . . . finally.”
The cancer cachectic,
his cells oozing like snails salted,
his 6’2” high school linebacker’s frame
now a wicker-backed bentwood rocker,
his Vietnam sergeant’s bark
muffled to a morphine moan.
Laughing, “Remember how he’d say,
‘I want to die on the front nine,
my backswing rising.’
Remember his laugh,
cognac-smoky, unfiltered Camel chortle.
Remember how he’d toss us high,
shelter our lows,
his forearms knotted from cleaving
shoulder bones from the chuck.”
It’s raining when I talk to her,
the rain prattling innocence.