In a battered desk in the feed room of my grandfather’s store,
I came across a knife
my father had made – high school, I’m guessing,
metal shop – a dagger with a bone handle,
blade cut from a metal file.
It looked ugly, dangerous.
“Put that back,” he told me
when I brought it into the store. He hardly glanced
at the two-edged blade, good only for murder.
I was young, obedient. I put it back
but have held it years in my memory,
just as he must’ve held it
in that desk drawer of rusted sockets and wrenches –
My Old Man’s Homemade Dagger full post
(118 words, estimated 28 secs reading time)
Just past midnight when I walked out back to piss in the yard
I saw at my feet
in a patch of moonlight
the old enemy coiled on the root of a cherry tree.
It didn’t rattle or move, and I thought it might be dead,
then the fat tail twitched
as a slight wind washed the root with shadows.
I backed away slowly, looking for the shovel
I kept leaning against the fence.
It wasn’t there. So thinking omen, I left the snake
and walked back into the house.
An Old Enemy full post
(133 words, estimated 32 secs reading time)
caused her to gasp and hold that memory for seventy years:
her leaning against the desk at the nurses’ station,
going over meds
with the head nurse,
then a young sailor rolling up in a wheelchair.
Could they give him something
for his pain? His legs and feet are killing him.
She looks down at his scarred face,
his narrow shoulders wrapped in a khaki shawl,
his hands folded in his lap, then . . .
But I always knew what was coming, even the first time
I heard the story. Her grimace tipped me off.
Young Nurse, VA Hospital, 1945 full post
(163 words, estimated 39 secs reading time)
for Jane Hirshfield
Last night the beautiful horses of my boyhood galloped again
into my dream. I especially love the sleek black mare
with the white star between her eyes,
and remember her grace as she’d trot
across the pasture when I stretched my arm over the fence –
corn husks, an apple core, such small things, such large joy.
I’ve often wished I had a heart like that.
Ah, says my mother-in-law, if wishes were horses . . .
Permanent link to this post
(81 words, estimated 19 secs reading time)