Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Poem by Shelby Stephenson


I am lost in open doors, pondering breakdowns,
shouting for the wrap to fall and see you are ready to come back,

seeing you give and forgive all the jokes and control.
Then you blend into the crowd and the dream fades.

The seasons bring the chance you will come
around and Thanksgiving will be year-round,
with family at the table,
the sweet lingering yes in the clearing,
your walks, laughter, swings, sway,
the inward pull to me as you stride and hold on.

How’s Nin?
And I turn my head aside (your mother on the other end of the line),
the real conversation never uttered, though alive on arrival.

Give me my corner; we’ll look after your Mixed Moods.
The parking’s not easy here − but it’s the Hand dealt, smoke and flame −
didn’t Adam and Eve set the pace,
after Jocasta and Oedipus before that Easter morning long ago?
Didn’t the cave-men and women dither?

In the Valley of Sinking,
under Overhanging Cliffs, Irritable Mood squalls.
Scaling Phantoms increase.
Insomnia nods in the Basin.

In your chair at breakfast, you try to say something:

“Are you going to finish the sentence?”
Only a pursing of lips and a shifting of seat −
days going by – no − weeks − months −

My gums recede,
the scar on my back hurts.

And you fret: finances drained, health-insurance insufficient,
Social Security insecure.

Shelby Stephenson's Play My Music Anyhow is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.


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