before the shoveling

January 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

this morning, as I prepared
to shovel my parents drive,
a single point mutation
in my thoughts carried me
to that spot in their yard
where the fires of July
accepted logwood
like a shaman accepts wisdom –
burning, only, as duty to others

last night’s snow
left that spot
a small dip
between pear tree
and overturned birdbath
a small clean impression
like one the cat leaves
in the quilt
when she leaps from the bed

I, slowed by layers,
check the forecast and
contemplate the task
before me, naturally wishing
to be counting dolphins
from the bowsprit of a schooner,
dipping below the 18th
on a heading to St. Croix

or casually twirling a putter
as I cross The Nelson Bridge
to locate a too-long shot
among the azalea there

but mostly wishing
to be sunk deep in a lawn chair
as the fire crackles behind
the conversations of the adults

my fathers cotton
and soybeans
of his youth
the poodle skirts and Packards
of my mothers

and my Uncle, with his black coffee and his legs crossed
not talking
once again,
of his time in Cabanatuan

each falling flake a reminder
of things I may never do
or ever do again

(c) 2014 Fred Whitehead


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