They tire of the too small,
too big conversations, the constant
comparisons; at least Snow White
had the courtesy to sleep a while
and Cinderella disappeared in her pumpkin
for a carriage ride into the night.
This girl just sits on the couch, whining,
threatening teenage pregnancy,
smearing on acne medicine,
then takes the car out late without permission,
eats all the porridge – cold, hot, she does not care
“Eating for two,” she teases, and they roll
their eyes, thinking: Where did we go wrong,
Was it the late bed-time, too many video games?
When is she going to get a job?
The Clown Has Fallen
We should all be saying Oh no
because he was the one who kept us sane,
giving us jokes, even about ourselves.
Somehow we still laughed.
But now he has taken a tumble, perhaps
drinking a bit too much, climbing a bit
too high – or, worse yet, has taken flight
on purpose, leaving us with no consolation
of cheer or diversion.
Taking out the Trash
It could turn into a walk down the lane,
a chance meeting with fate.
I picture a man driving by, offering millions,
but it is as likely as Charon swimming to the curb
offering a ride to the Underworld.
So the trash gets taken out, the decaf gets made,
lesson plans are done (they are never really done),
and I wonder if Odysseus took out the garbage
when he made it back to Ithaca.
The Memory of Dolphins
Remember, I ask, the dolphins
or porpoises, their beautiful shadows
cavorting in the waves?
We felt so lucky to see them then.
When, you ask, when was that?
It was just a few years ago when we
went walking one morning, getting
our toes in the lukewarm water.
But the memory is gone, a photo that
has been destroyed, an event that
may as well have never happened.
Such is reality, I suppose.
Sitting by the cresting waves,
he noticed first one swordfish and then
another finding their flapping way
onto the shore.
Should he wake her? Probably not.
Then the first one stood up, followed
by his companion, and a duel ensued.
He really should wake her, he thought,
but did not.
Then both silver-blue fishes bowed,
leaped back into the ocean.
First he thought, she’s going to be pissed,
and then he thought, she wouldn’t believe
it anyway if I told her.
The High Waters
A boat is docked
but has never been anywhere
to speak of.
The inside of the restaurant
is decorated with animal skins,
a giant bee’s nest.
A muskrat threatens to go fishing
by the door.
He’s even got his pole out.
There are stirrings in the water,
Invisible life sucking at lighting
insects, moving in tiny circles
beneath the swirling murk.
There is a hidden life in the marsh
as we eat broiled fish and sip
sour mixes in mason jars.