One more day, I said yesterday.
Tomorrow I will proudly pick two perfect tomatoes,
the largest my 10×10 garden has produced
during my first year in this community space,
surrounded by people who give advice,
water my vines while I’m away
and remind me to lock the gate.
Today, I walked past wild vines
taking over Connecticut soil and stopped short.
My two perfect tomatoes were gone.
The space they occupied yesterday
stripped clean as if they never existed.
A thief had bent over my chicken wire fence
and plucked my perfect pleasure.
I blamed myself for not picking them earlier.
Those huge red orbs taunted anyone who came near.
Maybe they thought I was away, that the fruit would rot,
Maybe it was a stranger who jumped the fence.
Maybe it was simply someone who had bacon and lettuce,
but no sun-ripened, summer-kissed Big Boys.
I forgive you, I whispered.
And every night was an adventure.
I didn’t fly, I simply lifted at will,
looking down without fear
at the world below.
No one looked up
while I was suspended overhead,
and I had no concerns
about the people below.
I didn’t see a string,
but something guided me,
softly lifting and lightly touching down.
Tonight, I will more likely
be naked while no one notices
or running late to take a test
that I haven’t studied for.
No wonder I lie awake for hours.
The silence of centuries
settles in amid these giant redwoods.
Nothing to say to us,
their limbs whisper high overhead.
And, later, when we yell
a friend’s name who has wandered,
our voices feel choked off
by these solitary sentinels of the earth.
Why should they speak to us?
Such weak creatures without roots.
Drinking wine in Napa.
And, oh, how the stemware sparkles,
the vineyards cling to gold and russet
and wisps of fog give way to blue sky.
Who could ask for a better place
to escape a world gone mad and made mad
by thoughtless and careless promises?
We toast more in one day than in one year
and wish and hope and pray for a world
that’s shattering like glass.
My mother, Irene Fischer Meylor, poses for my father on their honeymoon in 1949. She had turned 19 just a month earlier. I found this curled negative in my Dad’s files, and had it printed.
Dad said some days were better than others.
On those days he’d see Mom walk
into the bedroom with his folded clothes
or pass by the living room with a dust cloth.
He’d smell bread baking
or coffee brewing in the kitchen.
Just a glimpse or a whiff.
Just enough, he said.
Once, he said, when he drove uptown
for the mail, he fell asleep, slumped
behind the wheel in a parking lot.
He woke to rapping on his window.
“Jerry, wake up. You’re late. It’s time!”
She looked right at him, he said.
And then she was gone.
At Dad’s funeral, my brother tells us his dream.
He’s sitting in a bar with Dad having a drink.
And Mom walks in. She tells Dad to get home.
And he follows her out the door.
That’s it. That’s the dream, Ken says.
On better days,
I can still hear Dad singing.
It’s just enough.
The longer she kept walking forward, the less often she looked back.
The less often she wanted to turn around.
The less often she waited to see if anyone was coming up behind her.
She liked the sound her sneakers made on the gravel roadway.
She could hear a creek running far below.
She could see the morning steam rising off the hillside.
She knew wherever the road led would be fine.
Because she’d never been there before.
Here I sit on goddamn bench in the Quarter
drying out after another summer afternoon shower.
It’s too hot and tips are too slow on Sundays,
and these tourists are cheap, nutless twits.
Like that old bitch in the store across the way.
She thinks I don’t see her snapping my photo for free?
Shit, I’ll look right at her and dare her to take another.
And now I’ll smile slow-like and pat my lap.
When she whirls around, my practiced cackle follows.
For fun, I scream: “Old woman, you can’t run from Death!”
It was late August and I sat on a bench
on the edge of Narragansett Bay.
The day was edging toward evening
and these teens caught my eye.
They walked barefoot on the edge of summer.
Before September, school, schedules.
On the edge, the precipice of adulthood.
The end of something.
And I got up and started walking
and walking and walking.
Over the edge.
Here’s a link to other Weekly Photo Challenge posts: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/category/photo-challenges/
So many are already rotting on the ground.
Flies buzz. The sun beats down.
The too-sweet smell rises.
But branches still bear their abundance.
And we gather the sweet fruit with abandon.
One more, just one more.
Even amid this ruin we fill our pails.
It is the way of we live our days. Picking, choosing.
Deciding when enough is enough.