- House Guest
- (For Nonnie)
This morning I thought of you in that instant
I bent to load the dishes and arose,
holding breath and counter top in crippling
embrace. Greedy for writing time, I logged
Sunday's fire with the mastodon of the pile
who bit me then, leaving the long tooth
to pierce again at 3:00 a.m.
Thirty years ago I watched my cousin
carry you down the steep river path
carved in the bluff for surefooted fishermen
carrying only rods and creels.
Through medical school and family practice,
family deaths and his escape, you carried
him, three children, your parents, childlike
in divorce, dropping them only at journey's
end accompanied always by the silent
one you didn't choose, nor introduce, nor
ever lose. For three days I've favored my
companion, hoping he'll grow bored with me
and have no wish to linger like an old
fish forgotten in the fridge, too rank
to touch or to remove. Too long I've watched
him, love struck, your incubus, remain
to watch Troy burn again in your pain.
- --Francis Downing Hunter
Punctuating a Promenade
A neurological, gait distinguishing disease
my rhythms and steps in random unison
to marked punctuation.v
step completely the left, right, left
periods fall between to signify completion.
balance almost lost
saved by the hooked curve of a question.
abruptly stopping to stand
suddenly on the points of exclamation.
there are no commas
no pauses interrupting momentum.
but quotations fall from the first
daily step to final.
quoting the uncertain charm that says,
"I'm stumbling, a walking disaster not yet. . . . . . . . . . . if ever
I may need the aid of a asterisk,
and the ground I till over
not as distanced as before
but I'm standing.
the rules of walking
characters leaned on like crutches.
- --Jennifer Sanders
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