The War

They built the memorial
before the war had ended,
leaving space on the wall
for more names of the dead.
But it wasn’t enough.
The wall filled up
and the war still wasn’t over.

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House of Cards

“Hello?” I answer.
Telephone silence.
“Hello?” I say again.
Nothing.
I hang up.
Every few afternoons,
during the trysting hour,
the same call.
Ring, ring, but only silence.
My wife and I joke
that it’s a ghost,
but I know better.
It’s someone who wants
to hear our voices.
A past indiscretion,
Mine, maybe hers,
don’t know and don’t want to.
I’m worried that instead of silence,
they’ll speak,
and my wife and I
will never look at each other
the same.

The Summit

Our breath lingers
in front of our faces
as we exhale
the mountain air
and look down
at the powder dusted valley.
Floating in the moment
between dangers passed
and the descent to come,
we laugh at our fear
of slipping and falling,
of being left alone
without the other.

Perfumed Paper

Tin mailboxes line the gravel path,
their wood posts aged a silver gray.
The stones tickle my bare soles
as I look through my box
for the letter you’d said you sent,
but it’s not there, and it’s as if
I’m no longer there either.
Just a shell standing in front
of an empty metal box.

Convictions

I met a guy once
who claimed he never said,
“Goodbye.”
That there were no endings,
just beginnings.
He would say,
“Hello,”
only once, when he met you,
And after that it was,
“Hey,”
or,
“Hi.”
His banter was a running toilet.
Jiggle the handle
and more came out.
Soon after meeting him,
I taught him about,
“Goodbye.”

Generations

The rusted cyclone fence
surrounds the boarded up house,
yellow, underneath the willow tree.
Fresh smoke rises from the black chimney.
The new owners have arrived.
Young, in love, anticipating
the future in their dream home.
It’s good they don’t know
the memories their house holds
for another couple, now old,
but once young, in love
and …

In the Alley

Chipped teeth litter his face,
bruised lips smear his complexion,
salty blood trickles from his nostrils,
but he still stands, hands clenched
as fists at his sides, knuckles cut,
as he looks down at his opponent
stretched out moaning in the sluice
running in the alley’s gutter.
His boss, his wife, his father, his life.