Friday, November 15, 2019

He despised winter, abbreviated days
when night, without remorse,
invaded the sanctity of afternoon,
when children disembarked
the late school bus with flashlights
that blinded the fading sidewalks.
It drove him to reclusiveness,
even from his wife,
who morphed into a turtle,
her head barely popped
from layered sweat shirts and socks
for the price of warmth
now that the sun had taken leave.
She huddled habitually
in the corner of the couch,
more blankets over her legs,
reading newspapers by the single lamp
that drove its light
into the heart of 5 PM darkness,
his meals cold even before they reached
the folding table,
eaten in front of the television
that offered little more
than sophomoric comedies
followed by the day’s diet of human disaster
and a weather forecast
best delivered by a child.
But what unnerved him most
was to go to bed each night
in their nearly refrigerated
second level room and watch her whispers
shape to a vapor cloud
that projected against the night light
and happily acknowledge the existence of Him,
along with thanks
and the blessings He bestowed.

His home was full of collectibles,
paintings, books, crafts,
possessing various degrees
of monetary worth and desirability,
yet what he cherished most
were items of menial worth
but considerable sentimentality,
items that pulled him back in time,
a large coffee can
he painted green
for his three year old son gathering rocks,
elementary songbooks,
a dilapidated grandfather’s rocking chair,
springs so rusty
they would snap if weighted upon,
the old Doberman’s chew toy,
his father’s tools.
All buildup
from previous generations
he hopes his children
will have the courage to discard
as he did, submerged in thought,
with his mother-in-law’s mementos
while his wife
was lost in remembrance,
grasping old photographs
and birthday cards
she once sent with their children’s
infant signatures attached.
The morning sky imagined
a glow of pink and purple
before the sun arrived,
before the horizon
imagined itself a blond,
like the smiling nurse
who helped me out to the car,
wearing colorful clips in her hair,
clips which stole the sunlight’s gleam.
On the sidewalk,
I stared at the asphalt,
it held a puddle of rainwater,
I imagined it a cocktail.
Over the sun,
a dense cloud dissipated,
creating a halo
around the red brick of the building
I earlier imagined
would be my last to enter.
I had never noticed sunlight ripple
in a street puddle before.
The ride home was uncomfortable
yet joyous.
The road imagined a parade,
cars lined up dutifully,
and the morning, so conscious of itself,
imagined a celebration of light
forever beaming, forever replete.
When you touched my hand,
it was as if
you imagined I needed your touch,
as if  I imagined your touch 
exactly at that time
to realize the morning.   

In order to think,
to contemplate and appreciate
dilemmas brought on by modern life,
he often took to strolling
through the public gardens
amid the calmness of time honored trees
and sprawling greenways
that survived the patriotic acts of revolution,
just far enough away
from the street crowd and traffic noise,
building at the intersection
of Bolyston and Tremont.
Distractions down the winding,
narrow tar paths were minimal,
no vendors, beggars, prostitutes,
or public speakers attracting crowds
this day, only a place to find refuge.
So he reflected upon his quickly dissipating,
limited allotment of time,
his acquiescence to a battle
once valiantly fought,
his lack of owning responsibility,
the feigning privilege and apathy
gathering years seem to imply
and the folly of those who still engage.
A female runner skirted by,
lithe, youthful, amazingly trim,
stealing his daydream.
Boston is wonderful, he muttered,
the air so full of rebellion.
He wandered off again
into a comic reverie of pursuit
and the tender excitement of discovery.
I must find my running shoes, he mused.

Sweet little chocolate
in the candy shop,
I gave your brown shell
a bite when no one saw,
took your creamy filling
for a ride in my mouth,
on my tongue
to all those secret places
where I might sense the nuance
of your flavored butter breath.
As you awakened my palate,
I tried to appear innocent
from the guilty pleasure
your confectionary sin availed,
greeting the clerk
with a tight lipped smile
as I perused the display
with you discreetly perched
behind my teeth,
slowly melting away. 

Town of his birth,
he is rushing back
to the house of his infant years,
escaping throngs of cars
and frenzied employees
that clutter city sidewalks,
searching with his headlights bright
for the narrow country roads
that lead to the place
of his grandfather’s voluntary exile.
To the chagrin of co-workers and bosses,
he is consumed, a knight,
galloping backward in time
toward the black and white world
of family history
to save the home
and the barely valuable heirlooms
of his predecessors,
significant only in longevity
and the decades of old fingerprints
that might have survived,
family portraits, antique bedrooms,
the grand piano he never learned
how to play.
Tonight, within the seclusion
of secrets and memories,
he will clean and pamper them,
listen to all their stories,
and accept them again
as house guests,
at least for another lifetime.

Michael Keshigian’s thirteenth poetry collection, The Garden Of Summer was released April, 2019 by Flutter Press. He has been widely published in numerous national and international journals, recently including Red River Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Oyez Review, Bluepepper, Muddy River Review, Smoky Quartz and has appeared as feature writer in over twenty publications with 7 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. (

A Small Town’s George Floyd Protest 2020

Hope all is going well. Here in the armpit of the nation, masks have never been mandated--and rioting takes place at a minimum. Thought you...