I'm taking a break from revisions and thought I'd post a poem. Amy Lou and C. Bets inspired me. The editor wrote on the rejection "Came close."

Close but no cigar! Opinions welcomed.



Bridge Ices Before Road

While we had some clue through phone calls,
we didn’t know the scope
until we went back home and found it:
what it’s like to be an old man and worn out
and get to where he didn’t know he’d be.
Locking the back porch door takes five minutes
or an eternity, while I hold open the screen door
behind him, so he doesn’t have to try that, too.
It’s a matter of when to tell lost brilliance, balance:
Here, let me do it.
Because you can’t.
Does dignity have an expiration date?
or does it thin out like old hair?
The others are in the grass, laughing, paying no attention.

The screen door slaps shut. Dogs bark
by our footsteps, babysteps, up through the yard to cars
that will take us to a congenial buffet.

The bygone stomping grounds are still there,
the well-loved mountains, Appalachia, the roads
that are S after S. Arrows on signs point to hollows –
a few trees chopped down to set white clapboard houses
with swollen windows and skins of brown dust.

The journey of life is want and not wanting.

No point in wishing things were different.
It would be like wishing even one time
that Road Ices Before Bridge

or that he could sit in a warm black coat
with a cup of coffee and an open book at a table
by the street, like in a painting, and be fantastic.

He is the obvious car rolling away,
diminishing to a dot and then nothing.