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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

She Is My World

I would have liked
to give her the world,
and, believe me,
she would have liked that too,
but I owned so little of it,
so all she’d receive
was a homemade valentine,
not even capitalized,
and, one year, some patchouli oil,
another, some seeds
from a Burpee catalog.

Those seeds were for Cosmos,
and I really don’t like them much,
but she does, and
that’s enough,
like those $3.99 Driscoll strawberries,
the ones she prefers,
when all I eat are
the $1.50 baskets,
with unmemorable names,
the loss leaders from the chains.

I own more of the world now,
but I’m older and wiser too,
know that it’s not mine to give,
and what’s it matter, anyhow?
In the way of men and women
of a certain age, of
husbands and wives
of all ages,
if I need a new tee shirt, I buy one,
while she has the world
in her catalogs.
Then there’s Ebay,
but don’t get me started.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fire O'Clock

The desert’s not really on fire,
it just feels like it,
July paying a visit in June and all.
Then there’s that smoke
coming from Chino Canyon
reminding us it’s a long, long way till fall.

Habits are changing already,
probably due to that warm May,
biorhythms shifting to a lower gear,
awake at three, up at four,
two cups of coffee by five,
it’s the pattern this time of year.

The stores open earlier now,
allowing errands
to be run before ten.
Chores get done quickly,
exercise done before dawn,
hikes over by seven.

The air kicks in at random,
pretty much twenty four-seven now,
it’s a truly critical tool.
Life’s all shades and fans
and ice cubed drinks,
with an occasional dip in the pool.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


It’s a stretch to call it a reunion, she having been five months
in her mother’s belly
the last time we saw her.
Still, she had her mother’s smile,
her father’s soul,
the father she never met,
my good friend, our Best Man.
Thanks to a Facebook-driven
connection with her mom’s best friend,
we’d found them all after
more than thirty years, learned
we’d driven right by their home,
once a month for years,
headed to Sedona.
Almost a Doctor Zhivago moment,
but the gods were kind,
her mother Gretchen happy to see us,
“aunt” Carol the messenger of joy,
So, when we met, again,
or for the first time,
as if it mattered,
bittersweet happiness all around,
she eager for my memories of
the dad she never knew,
me thrilled to see what he had given,
before he died too soon.
She lives now in the town we left,
her boss my friend,
her staff colleagues my pals,
working where I would have been,
had we not moved.
Married, she has an unfamiliar name,
so would we have figured it out
if I had stayed?
Hard to say.
It’s a funny old world that way.

Okauchee Lake

That lake was everything to us,
bathtub in the summer,
a shortcut to town during winter,
source of food and fun.
There are bigger lakes, deeper too,
but none more important in my
Huck Finn childhood.
It was glacier-carved,
darkly deep and huge at one end,
bluegill small and shallow at the other,
a squiggly channel in the middle,
looking like a misshaped dumbbell.

We were all poor, but,
with nothing to compare it to,
we didn’t know it.
We might have been needy,
yet we all had a boat of some kind.
Mostly, they were rowboats,
aluminum if your dad had a job,
an Evinrude motor on the back if
there was a rich uncle somewhere.

That lake had its mysteries,
and it ate a human or two every year,
sucked them down into the weeds,
next to the cars it swallowed every spring,
the ones driven on to the ice in March,
at the American Legion jamboree.
In late spring, early summer,
before vacationers’ traffic clouded the surface,
you could drift idly,
see the ancient tree stumps below,
wonder what the land was like before the floe.

If you had a motor,
or a young person’s energy,
you could get out to Stumpy Bay,
or to Stone Bank,
where the best fishing was.
You’d see birds of every type,
small crabs near the shore,
piers and docks of all shapes and lengths.
You could stare at the sky,
see where it joined the water,
watch that lake swallow the sun if
you stayed out late enough,
waiting for the star show,
catching a night bonfire up the hill.

That lake was everything to us,
and I bet, on still days,
it served as a mirror
for God’s morning primp.
They say that there are 10,000 lakes
in the state next door,
even more up north, near Canada,
but we only needed one,
and it made us richer than we knew.