Avenue of the Giants, 2016

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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.

Red, red wine

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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.

Good night, Irene, good night, Irene

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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.

Wherever the road leads

 

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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.

Death poses for a photo

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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!” 

Weekly photo challenge: Edge

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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/