Waiting for Uncle Edward
02 July 2014
I’m tracking Ed on the Internet: left San Diego, arrived
Providence, arrived Attleboro. USPS Priority Mail Express 1-Day,
airfare $92.85, insured for $100. Last time home, he carried
loosely wrapped tiramisu wedged between the shirts in his
carry-on. This time, he won’t be bringing dessert.
I’ll be here to sign for his ashes.
13 June 2014
Beard, thin, black umbrella. Passes bench, sits on platform. Eye
contact. Mistake. “It starts to rain, I open the umbrella,
I’m OK. Stops raining, I close it, and I’m
good.” More: found abandoned, plastic ribs for good eversion
recovery, sketchy runner jams, hangs it from a carabiner to dry.
Didactic Gump leaves me in peace only when he boards the train.
Haven’t met his ex-wife, but I have a theory about the
20 May 2014
They are flowering even as I write—I know the horse chestnut
trees of six Bristol County towns. Fifteen years ago I planted one
out back for my infant grandchildren's as yet unborn offspring;
the tree only now begins to outstrip their height. I have passed
the lore to a worthy successor, strong in the buckeye Force. The
conker gods tell me they are well pleased with my offerings. I am
content to await the apocalypse.
What They Heard
15 April 2014
A distant large-bore motorcycle does a slow glissando toward its
red line. Some soul damns itself to perdition practicing on drums.
A plaintive killdeer patrols the edges of the paved acres. But
mostly it’s the wind. An unlatched plexiglass showcase door
slams alternately open and shut. Gust-driven sand hisses off
parked cars. Discarded plastic rolls, skids, tumbles across the
asphalt. Scraping. Horseless clip-clops.
How They Walked
13 April 2014
A guy with four days’ white stubble and gimpy leg soldiers
on with his asymmetric rolling gait toward the train. A grey
stooped woman trudges out of the funeral home, easing her fragile
bubble of resigned inwardness through a universe suddenly sharp
and viscous. A tall twenty-something woman carries poise,
confidence, and under her arm a hula hoop. We agree that this
amuses the cosmos and exchange smiles as we pass.
What You Have
24 March 2014
A raucous congregation of redwings kibitzes as I survey our crocus buds.
At a construction site, a man-made ichneumon ovipositor injects concrete
into inaccessible forms. In the big-box store vestibule, coffee replaces
the popcorn miasma from the snack bar just inside. Pocketing it, I heft
the key ring my granddaughter gave me one Christmas. It doesn't take all
that much to make a day worth being above ground for.
I Brake for Fireplugs
20 March 2014
I'm slipping. I can feel it. I recognize the signs—euphoria,
welling enthusiasm. I am, God help me, a collector. I'm noticing
hydrants. Pawtucket, dandelion-yellow. Seekonk, orange with green and
white ports. Yellow, red cap, and red chained port covers in Attleboro.
I obsess, learn arcane vocabulary, take pictures, covet a pentagonal
wrench. My magpie brain revels in the madness. I feel the power of the
Gifts from a Winter Dying Unlamented
27 February 2014
Contrapuntal jackhammering woodpeckers and a cardinal singing for his
territory at first light. Sun enough higher that it makes foot-warming
patches on the rug, and is not always in my eyes when I'm driving. An
entire year blessed by not hearing a single number by Elvis or Michael
Jackson. And, in three weeks or so, whether I wake up on the right side
of the grass or not, spring peepers will make the evenings theirs.