You perch in silhouette on overhead power lines,
a black bird cutout from the gray-mottled clouds.
I’ve read that you recognize faces, and can
distinguish the friendly from the ill-willed.
I’ve read that you can even pass that specific discernment
down to your offspring.
And so, when you begin scolding me in raucous cawing,
I face you square on and remind you that I’m one of the good guys.
You laugh (or so it seems) and swoop down to the garden wall
where you observe (or so it seems) my every move.
When I return to the house, you will drop to the ground
and inspect the results of my comings and goings.
Perhaps I have turned up a tasty morsel from the garden.
You’ll return to your high wire and pose again,
black-on-black in silhouette against the sky.
And somehow, I take comfort in imagining
I have gained your approval and won’t fall victim
to a murder of crows.
dVerse Poetics: On Shades of Black
I was a kept woman:
kept from wanting, kept from having;
kept at home, kept at arm’s length;
kept alive, kept from living.
I kept my head down,
kept my opinions to myself.
I couldn’t keep up.
I gave up.
I’m a giver.
dVerse quadrille #91– keep
He smelled of pipe tobacco,
Prince Albert to be precise.
His soft jaw with a half day’s stubble looked scratchy,
but I never ventured to touch it and find out.
A dark amber bottle – Blitz beer — perpetually clamped in one hand,
his pipe in the other. Sometimes lit, sometimes not
(both he and his pipe),
He didn’t talk a lot. At times it seemed
he wasn’t listening much either,
but then his face would suddenly brighten, and –
with eyes sparkling — he’d begin recounting a story or a joke.
Mom would shush him. “Not in front of the kids.”
Dad would chuckle as if he knew the ending anyway,
and Grandpa Clyde would sit back and take a swig of his beer,
satisfied at getting a rise out of my mother, even if
he never got to finish his story.
I imagined he had a lot of stories to tell.
I imagined him as some kind of O. Henry character,
cloaked in enigmatic layer upon layer
that never quite unfolded in daylight.
Despite his presence at Sunday dinners for most of my childhood,
I never felt I knew him; never heard the punch lines that made him laugh;
never learned the O. Henry-esque twist endings to his stories.
If someday we meet in the “great beyond”
(per my mother’s portrayal of him, it likely won’t be in heaven),
we can sit by the fires, Prince Albert mingling with sulfurous air,
beer bottles sweating in our warm hands.
He can tell his stories. Or not.
I can touch the stubble on his cheeks. Or not.
Regardless, there’ll likely be mischief in his eyes, and – likely —
I’ll leave still not having cracked the mystery
of my grandfather.
dVerse Poetics: On Profiles and Portraits. The Challenge: write/create a profile/portrait in your verse.
brisk October breeze
chapped leaves rustle in complaint
summer blows away