On a run… a jog… a walk…
(More the latter than I care to admit)
Through the East Side,
Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Rusted-out autos from garage to sidewalk;
Their humble, hollow half-life draws my attention from
And everything else that lies between,
If only for a moment.
There is a green passenger van
For the children, perhaps,
Acquired with plans for
Long family drives through the country-side,
For a future filled with friends and new acquaintances,
Road trips with cigarette smoke hanging in the air,
Summer nights spent sighing softly amid a sea of blankets in the back,
The cool night air drifting through the open windows.
There are at least three dilapidated Cadillacs
(Who knows if any sit, safer somewhat, in the inaccessible three-car garage)
Chariots for nights on the town,
Arms hanging out the window with palms exposed to “catch” the passing breeze,
Horses long since in the ground,
Their once-shining trim now cracked and red with age,
Due to crumble and fall to the ground below with a strong wind.
Unclaimed memories, no matter the kind,
As obscure as the interior of these decaying corpse cars,
Windows like the years themselves,
Too thick with the mark of time to see beyond and into with any clarity.
Down the road, blue paint is peeling on rotted logs stacked to keep the dirt in,
An untended garden, thick with weeds already though the snow has just thawed,
Growing taller and bolder each year;
Someone built this garden and wished for tall rows of tomatoes…
Where are they now?
Do you think they ever wonder about their little garden bed on the corner of Plum and Maple?
We do our best,
It all goes so fast
Once a presence in the present,
To be a figure in the future
Spectre from the past;
Ghosts are much more frightening in real life.
“I will not let
The months and years
pass like this,”
I remind myself,
Kicking a small stone,
Which rolls down the street until it comes to rest at the bottom of an unfilled pothole.
“I will live… today.”
When I arrive home,
I finish my day of
Meetings and messages,
Each one whittling away at my remaining hours a little bit more than the last,
And when I am done,
Not because I am finished,
But because my time with you has just begun,
And these are the moments I adore most of all,
No matter how ephemeral they may be.
After reading today’s adventures of
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse,
We say goodnight,
And I ride my bike to the corner market,
A green floral-print mask strapped to my face,
Breathing heavier than I used to,
Not for the mask but for the time since I last rode like this,
Greeting as I do
The same friendly man who always eyes my arrival with a combination of
Tired amusement and momentary hesitation,
Before I depart again for my home to write,
Hoping maybe they will carry with them,
Some of the sentiments I cannot quite seem to keep from collecting in my heart,
Not that you might take any of them on for yourself – I would never ask that,
But that you might see and say,
“Ah, I know this all too well…”
That we might both know as such,
We are not alone,
Nor are we
That they might someday be,
More than memories.