~ TWO CHAIRS
I cannot recall if they're ever not been there,
those two rocking chairs made from ash or pine
at the second house after I turn left into the neighborhood
on my way home every weekday from work like clockwork.
They're always empty, but I imagine my self
sitting in one and you in the other, drifting back-and-forth
and nodding at the man that glances over each day
as he turns left into the neighborhood, coming from work.
The ice cubes shift in the pitcher of sweet tea or tart lemonade
and the perspiration beads on the glass and runs down
under my hand like sweat in the small of your back
that we really can't take care of without making a scene,
behaviors we would never have if our grandmothers could see.
I watched you eat with your hands once,
not something sexy like a turkey leg
with the juices smeared across the back of your hand
and something undefinable sitting at the corner of your mouth,
but something simple like the corner of a cracker
or a slice of apple, placed gently on your tongue
in a motion so smooth it belied the violence of chewing.
It reminded me of your serenity and glow during pregnancy,
those moments before the emergency surgery
when I almost fainted because of the blood and chaos,
but you smiled at me when you heard his first cry.
I held your hand and smiled back
and just maybe I cried a little.
~ SKILLED NURSING
I never wanted to see my heroes kneel,
fallen and shattered and broken
sitting at a table with dominoes
staring at the tiny dots through milky eyes
lips moving with whispered words
to which no one listens any more.
The anchor stones have slipped from frayed ropes
and the truest heading is lost,
adrift in the flow without purpose or course.
The bridges have burned behind me,
ashes drifting across stones
blackened feet and singed,
while the return home becomes a long walk around.
All the sonnets have started to sound hollow
and the cupboards are bare,
filled only with cobwebs and quiet echoes.