Sunday, March 31, 2013

Unsinkable Tulips





My photo may not show a profusion of tulips, as alluded to in the poem, but I think it does sort of go with today's offering.


I like the way this small group cups the sunlight, how the vibrant color seems to speak of spring.  


I like to keep that in mind ... as I often do ... and you may hear me repeating myself on this ... when we're struggling through another Ohio winter: Remember, this brings us another day closer to ...


That's right ... SPRING ... real spring!

I know, I know ... winter has some visual assets, too ... some snows can be beautiful ... but at the price of bitter cold ... and the cold seems to become more bitter as I age.


But then I keep reminding myself (and any who will listen) that we're another day closer to ... ah, yes, spring ... and I survive the winter.


Meanwhile, the poem:


UNSINKABLE TULIPS

We fretted over
spring's unseasonable
warmth, then frost, snow,
bitter, freezing nights,
and our hopes withered,
but here you are
again, reds and yellows
defiantly brilliant,
leaving us wondering
why we ever doubted.
© 2002

(originally published in PKA's Advocate)

Today's word: profusion

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Transformation





I think today's poem requires little in the way of explanation.

When the idea came to me and I tried to capture it on paper, I struggled to squeeze as much into eight short lines as I possibly could.

I was operating then under the mistaken impression that Capper's ... where I was thinking I might submit it ... only published eight-line poems.

I believe, however, that I may have succeeded in conveying my central message: The world does take on a new aspect when we view it with "new eyes."

Oh, if we could just manage to maintain that perspective.

The poem:

TRANSFORMATION

The landscape
seems different
from yesterday,
brighter, softer,
and yet the same
in all details.
Could it be that
have changed?
 © 1996
(originally published in Capper's)
Today's word: transformation

Friday, March 29, 2013

So Quiet






Today's poem is another which preserves a family memory ... more specifically, a memory of a visit to the place where our grandson was starting his life ... and of the good times Grandma and he shared ... and, of course, I was not left out of the activity, either.

I think the poem pretty well tells its own story:


SO QUIET

The house was so quiet
this morning when I walked
down the hallway that I
could hear the clock ticking,

thought I heard tired fireflies
grumping softly to themselves
somewhere outside, searching
the grass for a cool place

to spend the day, the cicadas
climbing their leafy green trees,
almost humming to themselves
in their happiness, thought I

heard Thomas breathing peacefully
in his bed, still dreaming about
that dump truck he and Grandma
kept filling and emptying, sand

tickling their bare feet, and I
couldn't help smiling at myself
looking back from the mirror,
ready to clap my hands and dance.
© 2001

(received a third place award in a ByLine competition; now part of Hollyhocks, my second collection of poems, released by Finishing Line Press)

Today's word: grumping

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quiet Nights at Fuzzy's





Fuzzy's was a real place in my hometown. It still is, as far as I know ... Fuzzy's Tavern. 


I was never inside, but I was always intrigued by the swinging doors, just like in the movies, and by the mixture of sounds ... music and voices ... and those alien smells, a mixture of smoke and booze, I suppose, which came flowing out onto the street.


Fuzzy's is among my earliest memories of my hometown. I recall how Grandma would take my hand and guide me past.


As I say, I've never actually been inside Fuzzy's, so "Quiet Nights ..." is a product of a combination of early memories and my imagination. Oh, how that always enhances the memories.


When I wrote this poem, I imagined how it would have been to have followed the smoke as it drifted slowly through ... like a movie camera taking it all in ... then out the screened back door, out into that darkness "teeming with crickets and stars."


Someday I may go back to that little town where my journey began.


I'll go strolling down the east side of Main Street and, though I may feel that Grandma is still watching over where I go and what I do, I may venture inside Fuzzy's to see what it's really like.


Then again, I might just go strolling on by, like when Grandma led me past. I'd kinda hate to learn that it isn't anything like I imagined it to be.


The poem:




QUIET NIGHTS AT FUZZY'S


A lazy blue haze wove its way through
a tide of voices rising against
the solemn blare of the jukebox,



curled past booths lining the walls
like dark coffins, crawled into the dim
light hanging forlorn, discontented,



at a tattered table where the deliberate
clack and roll of spheres marked
the ebb and flow of local riches,



back where lonely drinkers got serious
in the grips of sweaty brown
bottles, washing themselves beyond



remembering the din of summer rain
on the tin roof, beyond even caring
about fighting, then the smoke seeped



out the screened back door, off,
night after night, into a darkness
teeming with crickets and stars.
© 1999

(second-place award winner in a Dayton Metro Library literary contest, and now part of a manuscript, a work in progress)



Today's word: memories

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Passages





Strange how ... and where ... poems sometimes reveal themselves to a person.


As I recall, I was sitting in the car in front of a Post Office, waiting for Phyllis to go in, mail a letter, and return.


I noticed the reflections of the vehicles going by on the street behind me ... how the warped window made them appear to be leaping ... like horses or hunting hounds ... bounding over a hedge.


I thought about reflections I had seen in store windows in my home town ... and of one window, in particular, on one of my last visits there. That store was vacant. Oh, the memories I had of that little country store!


Then the poem started asserting itself ... I reached for a scrap of paper ... always waiting in a handy pocket ... and began writing.


And now, the poem:


PASSAGES

The cars change shape
as they come and go
in the warped window glass
of a store that once was,
dusty now, this begrimed
keeper of secrets,
these windows that
have seen it all
in this small town: deaths,
funerals, weddings, births,
departures of its young
who sometimes come back,
stand beside a grave,
listen to an acorn falling,
slow ticking of eternity.
© 2007

(originally published in Waterways)


Today's word: ticking

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Only the Best







I can't imagine being restricted to writing only one word on a given day. There are so many of them clamoring to get out of my head and go skittering across the page ... or to be posted on the screen.

On the day that I wrote this little poem, though, I must have been trying to imagine what it might be like to have to settle on just one word ... and I picked "friend," with its dictionary meaning of a person one knows well and is fond of ... plus all its other shades of meaning, depending on the reader's experience.

It has so many meanings. It conjures up images of a handshake, a hug, of sharing a conversation with someone, or just sitting quietly with them ... helping someone, being helped by someone, of someone you can trust, someone with whom you can share your thoughts ... secrets, even ... 

It seems to be an all-purpose word, but it's a very precise word, too ... not a musical word, but one that can bring "music" to us, put a spring in our step, a glow that counters even the cloudiest of days.

The poem:


ONLY THE BEST

If I could write
just one word today,
what care I'd take
to pick the best
from the great array
of "previously-owned,
runs great" words,
for example: Friend.
© 1996
(originally published in Capper's)

Today's word: friend

Monday, March 25, 2013

New Growth





Today's poem contains some thoughts about what has happened to so much of our land ... thoughts driven largely, I suppose, by my having grown up in a rural area, where the poor, worn-out soil was gentled into producing food and flowers.


I have no special agenda, no axe to grind ... just some observations that simply came to me on a rainy day in a shopping center parking lot.


I may be wrong about grasses someday retaking "these smothered acres."


I take no comfort in the possibility that I might be right. Right or wrong, I shall never know, but it seems logical, reasonable to expect that the sprawl of what we've come to treasure as our way of life cannot be sustained forever.


Something to think about, perhaps.


The poem:



NEW GROWTH


Where crops once grew,

the skin of commerce
stretches into the distance,
acres in all directions.
On verdant prairie land
now grow waving fields
of carts, cars and customers.


They bring the green
to a soil long bereft
of plants, except token trees
planted as memorials
to what once was.


And when it rains, the rain
finds no welcoming soil.
It piles up at the drains
as it flees this alien surface.


What strange things
we now grow, and
how great the cost.

Someday the grasses
will retake
these smothered acres,
rightfully theirs
by prior claim.
The rain will come
in its gentle way
to bless this soil,
and it will prosper
as it did before.
© 1996

(originally published in Poetic Eloquence)

Today's word: smothered

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mulch Ado



(Just another of my little watercolor sketches, done during a pause on one of my daily walks with Phyllis ... thought it might go with today's entry, or might ... someday ... grow up to be something bigger, maybe better)


If I didn't do so much looking back, maybe I wouldn't bump into so many things along the way. Right.

But I've reached the age ... never mind the exact figure(s) ... where I feel that I might be permitted a glance or two back down that road which brought me here.

Maybe, just maybe, those glances back put me in a position to help someone else avoid the sharp turns or deep ruts that I encountered  at times along the way. 

If so, I'm glad to be of help.

And what brought all this up? I glanced at today's bit ... which may not be poetry ... or even close to being ... but I noticed it was published ... way back in '96 ... 1996, that is.

But I thought I'd share it, because it gives me an excuse for imposing another of my little watercolor sketches on you.

The poem ... or whatever:


Mulch Ado


What with all
the sowing, mowing,
watering, weeding,
feeding, spraying
and trimming,
it's been a challenge
that's a yard wide
and a summer long.
© 1996

(originally published in Mature Years)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Lost Line





There's something about the rhythm of walking ... especially alone, nobody to talk to ... which can set a phrase to coursing repeatedly through your brain.


Perhaps it's something you recall from a conversation, or it may simply pop out of the blue.


The more you think about it, the more entrenched it becomes. Then you start hoping it will stay in place until you get back home, or until you find a curbside bench where you can sit 
and commit that persistent phrase to paper.


Sometimes it's a series of phrases, thoughts that are beginning to shape themselves into a poem.


It was at this point in one of my walks, when I found myself in mid-street ... but let's let the poem tell the story. "The Lost Line" was originally published in ByLine magazine.


THE LOST LINE


Walking, engrossed
in the troubling
task of untangling
a difficult line,
I looked up
at mid-street
into the whites
of the eyes of a car.


The startled driver
swerved and went on,
as did I, trembling
at the thought
of being cut down,
end-stopped,
in such a way.


I left the line
lying there where
I had dropped it,
a broken lanyard,
the possibility
of starting
something big
scared out of it.

I doubt that I
can ever reclaim it,
poor frayed thing,
abandoned, lost,
turned to a frazzle
by tires that sing
without ceasing
on Wayne Avenue.
© 1996

Today's word: lanyard

Friday, March 22, 2013

If Elected





(No ... this is definitely not a self-portrait)

Don't worry. I'm not running for office.

Honest. I'm not planning any long-winded speeches, I won't be asking for money ... or even your vote ... and I certainly won't be making any promises I can't keep. I promise you that.

Then what?


Today's poem was written at another time ... in another place ... when and where it seemed that everybody else in the whole universe was vying for a position at the public trough.


It was a time when politicians were talking our ears off ... and dogs were barking all night. What a wonderful combination, I thought ... and there's no disrespect for dogs intended in that, I assure you.


If I WERE to be elected ... to anything ... it seemed to me at the time ... I would prefer to be the officeholder responsible for "mudging" curs (whatever that means) ... not the first time that a responsibility has been invented out of pure air (remember when we still had some of that?) ... in order to garner the votes of the undecided ... and unsuspecting ...


Well, from there it was strictly downhill ... and fast. But I had fun with the poem (remember, no disrespect for dogs intended). Here it is:


IF ELECTED

When finally I have
attained full growth,
I think that I
should like to be
a curmudgeon, which,
I'm told by my pal,
clear-eyed Ed,
is one who
mudges curs.


It's the least they
deserve for barking
all night at nothing
in particular while
decent folk are
pounding pillows,
trying to sleep,
but only attaining
grouchyhoodedness.


I promise, if elected,
not to be stingy
with my curmudgeoning.

 © 1997

(originally published in Parnassus Literary Journal)


Today's word: curmudgeon

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Handle With Care





Quite often, a poem, or the beginnings of a poem, will come to me suddenly, and in such a way that I will always remember that moment when the spark started the flame.


Not so in this case.


I'm not sure what the trigger was. 

Perhaps it was as simple as seeing a "Handle With Care" label on a package. 

Perhaps it was a quiet evening and I was thinking back to a time when I was quite young, swimming in dreams of what I was to become someday.


I don't know.


But I do know that I was struck by how fragile those dreams can be ... like a bubble glistening in its freshness ... a bubble so delicate that even a most careful touch can burst it.


I hope I stopped short of becoming preachy in this little poem ... and I hope to stop short of that in these comments.


I generally hope, when I'm writing, that I will end up with something that is thoughtfully assembled ... that it will be thoughtfully received by the reader ... and that it may have some residual, lasting value for that reader.


The poem:


HANDLE WITH CARE

There are few things
as beautifully crafted,
gilded or etched,
as magically alluring,
and yet so vulnerable
to the careless touch,
as the dreams
of a young child.
© 1995

(originally published in Capper's)


Today's word: vulnerable

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Then One Day, Spring





(I know ... we're a little early with the dogwood blossoms, but give them time; they'll be back)

As with many of my poems, this one is rooted in my childhood.

There are so many memories from that time, still warm and shiny from much handling. Of course, they were not all happy memories ... there were hard times in the land ... but the good memories have prevailed.

This collection of memories goes back before the days of central heating. No fear of the pipes freezing then ... there weren't any. Flush toilets were a part of those distant cities we had heard about.

Oh, but when the world began showing signs of thawing ... then we felt like celebrating. 

We had survived another winter. Spring meant the trees would soon be budding out, Easter flowers would start reaching their slender fingers toward the sun, birds would be singing.

What a great world we lived in!

The poem:


THEN ONE DAY, SPRING

After the long, gray parade
of frozen winter months,
there eventually came a day

unlike others in our valley,
when the sun seemed brighter,
warmer, the breeze softer,

clearer, carrying birdsong
in floating crystal notes,
snow beginning to inch back

from the steaming roof edge
of a nearly-empty coal shed,
sending tear-like trickles

of water drip-drip-dripping
onto earth where daffodils
soon would be punching

slender fingers through,
reaching for the warmth.
Then high along the ridge,

at the bluffs where a stream
would struggle with thirst
in July, there issued

the robust song of water
newly freed from the cold,
tumbling head-over-heels


to reach the rocks below
and come racing toward us
with the great good news.
© 1999


(received an honorable mention in Poets' Study Club competition, subsequently published in 
Capper's, and now part of my collection, Wood Smoke, published by Finishing Line Press)

Today's word: jubilation

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Glass, Drinking





(Just another photo I've snapped along the way ... this one at Cox Arboretum, one of my favorite walking places)

Today's poem is on such an ordinary subject ... and I'm sure the editor who once scrawled something to that effect on one of my poems would agree ... but I find many of my subjects in "ordinary things."

So much depends, I think, on how one looks at them.

I'm not exactly sure where ... or when ... the particular glass of this poem caught my attention.

It was a cheap green drinking glass ... I'm sure of that ... but it wasn't a recent observation, because the trains don't run past the house where I live. So it had to have been in the past ... perhaps the distant past.

But I do remember how that glass caught the light, and I can still see those few remaining droplets dancing.

The moment could have passed unnoticed. I'm sure there were other things ... far more important things ... going on. But I did notice, though I had no idea I would ever write a poem about it ... or write any poems, for that matter. 

I'm glad the memory was stored somewhere in the recesses of my mind, just waiting there for the right moment to show itself to me again.

It's just a small descriptive passage ... a single sentence, if it were presented as a bit of prose ... but I treasure the memory it represents ... and the other memories which keep it company.

Oh, how I wish I had a picture of it to share with you. Instead, there's a photo I snapped during one of my walks at Cox Arboretum. 


GLASS, DRINKING

It gathers the light to it, sparkling
with morning warmth, wraps itself
in rings so bright they might be taken
for some kind of pretense, but it’s
only a cheap green drinking glass,
empty except for a few remaining
droplets that tremble and dance
to the passing song of a rickety train
and then subside like an echo yielding
itself to the cold of late autumn fog.
© 2006

(originally published in St. Anthony Messenger)
Today's word: rickety

Monday, March 18, 2013

Folding the Laundry






Memories! Where would we be without them?

Oh, how they help us to keep our bearings ... pointing out where we've been ... and sometimes helping us to remain pointed in the direction we should go.

They don't have to be of the greatest moments of our lives. They may even be of moments that could have been easily forgotten.

What, after all, is memorable about folding the laundry? Something obviously was ... and still is ... for me.

I still remember how the sun played across the items hanging from that sagging line ... how the movements of those items reminded me of dancing ... line dancing, I suppose ... long before I knew what line dancing was.

And now, before I wander off in some other direction, the poem:

FOLDING THE LAUNDRY

Still warm as though
just sloughed off
the bodies of wearers,
it yields softly
to my hands tonight,
recalling those times
Grandma and I pulled
sweet-smelling armloads
of hand-washed laundry
from a sagging line
in the back yard.

I feel the fatigue
again, bare feet
picking their way
among the honeybees,
finding little comfort
as she directed me
to look up, see
the clouds, which,
she insisted,
were somebody else's
laundry left out,
still flapping,
and now, an easing
of my tired back
as that memory
gently enfolds me.
© 1998
(originally published in Riverrun)

Today's word: flapping

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ever a Circle





Today's poem is written, seemingly, about autumn ... and it is ... but it deals with other seasons, too.

So I guess I'm not too far off base in using one of my photos that speaks ... from a worm's eye view ... of spring.

The seasons, as I say in the poem, form a recurring circle. 

From that standpoint, I think it doesn't matter at which point we mount the whirling merry-go-round of seasons.

They keep coming around ... going around ... and we sometimes find ourselves complaining about this one ... too hot or too cold ... too dry or too wet ... find some fault in the present season, while looking forward to the next one ... or maybe even its opposite number.

Meanwhile, the poem:


EVER A CIRCLE

The pursuits of summer
have finally relented,
releasing children
to the autumn slide
of gathered books,
the shuffling of feet,
pencils crawling
on paper; the glimpsed
dogwood, glorious
with snowy blossoms
last spring, shows
first crimson now
on a clump of leaves.
How the months have
fallen away, piling
like shattered petals
across our memory,
in a depth sufficient
to sustain us over
another crossing
of bare-limbed winter
to spring, where
warm light is waiting
to help us celebrate
another completion
of this circle.
 © 1999

(originally published in Capper's)
Today's word: completion

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Detour - Expect Delays





Today's offering is obviously a summer poem, but it represents a "philosophy" ... an outlook ... which can be adopted almost any day of the year.

I think it was written on just one of those lazy, hazy, steamy days when I felt the backlog was secure ... no danger of avalanche, at least for the moment ... more important things, those pressing chores from day before yesterday ... and beyond ... could just wait their turn.

I think it's OK to do that sometimes ... to take time to look up from our everyday chores to see what's happening all around us ... the hollyhocks ... the cardinal ... the sunflowers.

Of course, the backlog will still be waiting ... but we can then approach it with the feeling that we're a little more evenly matched now. Try it. It works.

The poem:


DETOUR - EXPECT DELAYS


I have chores
to do, but it's such
a distracting day,
hollyhocks cupping
morning sunlight,
a cardinal swaying
in the evergreen,
a jury of sunflowers
eyeing me suspiciously,
as well they might,
for I, too, may just
follow the sun
the rest of the day.
© 1999

(originally published in Capper's)

Today's word: backlog

Friday, March 15, 2013

Catching a Wave




(No waves evident here; I just thought it might be good to share one of my peaceful photos ... this one taken at Cox Arboretum ... with this particular poem)

I don't think I was intended to be a morning person. Mornings have always been a struggle for me.


I know, I know. Morning is the best part of the day for the writer. Other concerns have not begun to intrude. 
The house is quiet. The brain is rested, ready to rev. Here's a whole new day beckoning.


But for me it's ... well, it's just morning. It takes me a little while to build some momentum.


I roll over, get one foot on the floor, then the other. I stand. I go teetering off in the general direction of the keyboard. I find the switch, flick it on.


By this time I have both eyes open. Things are starting to come into focus. And then, look out. Oh, look out! I'm starting to roll. I may even be writing soon.


This one was first published in Capper's:


CATCHING A WAVE

Down the avenues of my early-morning
mind zooms a flood of crowded, honking
thoughts that seek a place to park.

I’m too tired to direct traffic, too stressed
to sort them out. That must wait till later,
tongue losing its taste of suede, on the

verge of talk. But then they’re gone, not
a thought in sight, not a word of that
early-morning roar. Perhaps tomorrow.
© 1999

Today's word: momentum

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Before I Gallop




No, I don't have any immediate plans for a big move.

When I wrote this one, I was beginning to think about the time when downsizing would be the practical thing to do. I looked around at all the things I had accumulated over the years, and it seemed an impossible task.

It still does.

It's really hard to turn loose of things ... I have trouble seeing them as being only "things" ... because they stir so many memories.

I'm actually making the effort now to turn loose of some items ... to use up others ... to give some away. It's still not easy, but I'm trying.

When I wrote the poem, I tried to take a light-hearted look at this dilemma which faces so many people.

Still, after one reading before a small group, one listener told me that she liked the poem, but found the ending a real downer. She thought I was referring to someting very dark there ... death.

That hadn't occurred to me ... in fact, was furthest from my thoughts. I was actually thinking of Hawaii, a place I've never been, but wouldn't mind seeing someday.

Meanwhile, back to the shredder ... but first, the poem:


BEFORE I GALLOP

The time has come,
in this hunkered down,
bunkered up life
of mine, to start
turning loose of all
those precious papers,
stacks of things
left unread,
undone, untouched
these many years,
to end each day
with less than I had
at the beginning,
to divest, to shed,
to shred, to trash
all those dear things
that I can't take
with me, whether
I simply move
to more fitting
local quarters, or go
the whole route,
whisking away
my tell-tale tracks,
then galloping off
toward some
distant paradise.
© 1999

(originally published in Midwest Poetry Review)

Today's word: furthest

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Autumn Dreams







It wasn't raining as I stirred, turned my pillow cool side up, and went drifting off again, but I thought about the coolness of that pillow, later, while I was shaving, thought about the sound of rain ... and about this poem.


So here it is again:


AUTUMN DREAMS

Softly, the rain
descends, puddling
in the darkly
glistening street,
pausing to quench
the thirsting roof
before dripping,
a muffled sighing,
to the ground.

Wind chimes stir,
and the cows
are suddenly home,
winding along
that narrow path
where the sun
lately streamed.

I stir, savoring
quilted warmth,
softness of pillow,
go drifting off
again like a puff
of milkweed.
© 2000

(originally published in St. Anthony Messenger)

Today's word: puddling

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Under the Oaks




The oaks may have been "massive" only as their size was relative to my own, but they did seem to be towering, dominating, clustered there at the foot of the bluffs.

But the shade was mossy. I am positive of that.


Where the memory may be playing tricks ... it was a long time ago, you know ... is that the young trees I remember may not have been oaks at all. They could well have been hickory, or even maple.


Still, I like to think of them as "understudies," waiting for their turn in the spotlight ... in the sun.


I suppose there is some deeper lesson to be taken from this. Perhaps I had some application to humans in mind when I wrote the poem ... or it might just have been a little piece about trees. 


Oh, and the illustration? It's a digital photograph I snapped because the leaves reminded me of a painting by Georgia O'Keeffe.


The poem:


UNDER THE OAKS


I really admire
the persistence
of those small
trees struggling
in the mossy shade
of massive oaks,
understudies
learning their
lines, patiently
waiting their
turn to take
the stage, too.

© 2001

(originally published in Capper's)



Today's word: understudies

Monday, March 11, 2013

There, Almost








On reading this poem quietly to myself again, it occurred to me that the whole poem can be summed up in its first two words: "I dream ... "


In the poem I'm dreaming of London, Rome, Paris ... places I've never been ... and I'm dreaming of actually being there.


Well, you'll see the details of that as you read on.


As my orbit continues to grow smaller, I continue to dream ... not just of those exotic places so far beyond my reach ... but of places close at hand ... places I would like to see, but probably never will.


But I don't dwell on the "never will" aspect.


Nor do I dwell, particularly, on the opposite side of that coin ... the possibilities, remote or otherwise. I live, after all, in the real world ... a world that contains obstacles ... impediments ... realities that we must all face in some form, to some degree or other.


And still, I dream ... Oh, do I ever.


These dreams are the magnets ... tiny though they may be ... which draw me along. They beckon to me in the morning ... throughout the day ... and even when day is done and I sometimes find that I'm so weary.


I dream ... yes, I dream ... and I hope you do, too.


Meanwhile, the poem:

THERE, ALMOST

I dream of London,
Rome, sometimes Paris,
strolling their streets
on a spring day,
listening to voices
spilling like clear water
over rounded stones,
feeling the whisk of wind,
touch of rain, the quiet
of a hailed cab, tires
smacking puddles
on the curving streets,
tasting the food
in a warm cafe, tables
draped and waiting,
as though they knew,
all along, I'd be there.
© 1997

(originally published in The Christian Science Monitor)
Today's word: smacking