Tag Archives: aging

Tanka #10

my unfinished work
littered with brittle browns
deepening shadows —
autumn’s reds and yellows
forsaking their offering

IMG_0961

It was one year ago today I took the photograph that inspired my first tanka. It has been a less prolific season this year.

How the Children have Grown

He means well and offers connection
when he remarks how the children have grown,
that it won’t be too long before they aren’t around.

My daughter blinks her eyes
while my son mouths to me that
it isn’t true.

My own sense of the truth of his words
doesn’t make them welcome in the moment
of which they are now an indelible part.

She’s Rearranged Her Room

She’s rearranged her room
and proudly invites her father
to admire the work.

It makes up most of her world
on this summer afternoon —
careful placement of
well-worn friends,
books for reading
in the pillowed corner,
a place she has reserved for
hide-and-seek
just behind the bed.

If you lie right there
you can reach the fan, she tells him.

Turn it on, she says —
it smells just like the outside.

Her father looks out the window
as he turns the switch,
the ancient glass curving the view
across the lawn.

It really does, he replies,
tasting in that breath,
just for a moment at
the back of his throat,
the back of his memory,

his own childhood
rearranged room,
just-so and steady.

Untitled

fading
somewhere past paper thin

wisps of mourning
unreclaimed images

Many of my poems recently have been starting our long; I let them sit and then find myself stripping away words and lines that seem to clutter the feelings that first prompted me to write. Some moments I think I could write more without disturbing the essence if I were a better poet. Other moments, it seems just right.

Beside Me (Happy Birthday)

It has been twenty of your birthdays
since I first saw you walking
in the afternoon light;

you slipped away for a time,

but later
we floated in the
midnight darkness of the lake,
timidly watched the sunrise
from granite steps.

This day bears little resemblance
outside the presence of you and I
and want of a breeze;
others in between are half-forgotten,
depending on photos in an album
to remind us —

yet still I see you walking

and wish you might come
to sit down beside me.

Five

The arc on the old swing is short
and the set rocks uneasily
from so many seasons
in the snow and rain.

He has known it
for all of his five years,

but now runs to it less often,
lingers not as long.

Just the other day
he asked me for a push,
one he doesn’t need anymore —
a big one, he said,
and laughed
as he rose and fell
straining back,
reaching upward.

The blue sky was clear
and closer than it used to be.

Completing the set with companion pieces Ten and Almost Eight.

Entwined

Passing quickly in the morning
as you make lunches
and I rush to the car
isn’t what I imagined

that day we stood
in the old barn by the sea,

my hand gently touching yours,
and feeling every movement of the sweat
trickling down the small of my back.

Standing outside in the garden,
I didn’t notice the photographer
as we talked idly
between silences
about the softness of the rain —

though the pictures in the crimson binder
tucked up on the highest shelf
tell me he was there.

Let’s meet again in that garden,
where we can stand still,

my hand resting
on the laces that entwine
the back of your dress.

Ten

Her ears glowed bright red
when she returned home,
newly pierced earrings
gracing either side of her
bright eyes and shy smile.

I wished that we had taken her picture
in the morning,
but we hadn’t planned
for this to be the day —
just gone ahead when she asked,
following through on a months’ old promise.

As I watched her through the kitchen window
my wife told me about how
brave she had been.
We reminisced about that cold winter
when we had walked her back and forth
between her bedroom and ours,
soothing her newborn tears.

She came inside to tell me
she had seen the first snow drops,
or at least their green shoots
peeking through the icy leftovers
of the latest storm.

That’s where I’m going to build my fairy house,
she told me.

She ducked back outside
and leaned against the post on the porch,
filling an old seashell with greenery,
her legs outstretched
in the pale sun and
whispering quietly to herself,
perhaps about the moment,
or maybe about
all of her ten years.

(A found companion piece to Almost Eight)

Simple Day

The circles from our meeting
have rippled out
across the years,
growing faint for a time
from interruption,
and then stronger still,
rolling though seasons,
gardens and snows
and the voices of our children,
over quiet mornings
and hinted joy.

Let me kiss your forehead
and touch your hand,
look outward toward the sea
for just a moment
with a half smile —
another wave on this
simple day.