"Love Poem For Les"
How could you know I used your muscled
back as a definition: as a place to point?
I was 41 years old before I discovered that the words
are "beckon call"
I wondered what a "beck" was and why it couldn't be found
in the dictionary:
always assuming I was spelling it wrong or something.
You know how you do?
And when there were no words on what beck meant,
I searched out examples.
Beck became every piece of furniture
you ever moved around the house for me:
all the over stuffed sofas that replaced the club chairs:
every solid oak table that forced its way into another room.
You joked "We need to decorate with more wheels!"
or at least at the time I thought it was a joke.
How could you know that I would never love you more
than the night you woke from a warm bed to bring all my deceptively
light looking plants in from the front porch - one clay pot
at the time, racing against an unexpected hard freeze?
I measured beck by your strong arms and hands,
how easily objects moved for you.
And now these years later, I must confess to missing that young man
we left behind,
and how you once spent the whole of a Sunday Afternoon driving
around dirt roads collecting rocks for me: heavy rocks
that you later would move from pile to pile to pile
supporting me in my feeble
attempt at decorating a lawn
Three times we tried to get away
the last attempt bringing two sons
and an end to effort.
We placed our walking shoes in the back
of the closets (behind the waiting sleeping bag)
and settled for the mundane.
It was called "a steady job/dependable pay"
and our sons grew. They watched our cycles,
picked up our patterns and learned.
We tried to tear the tortured wheels
from their whiting knuckles
and toss the metal into heaps of scrap.
We craved to yell and flail about, foam our mouths.
We tried to shoot the boys away with B.B. Guns,
to scare them off like the wild horses we once were
and they still have time to be.
Our lacking English language limited
our troubled tongues
and we named it what we could - madness
and wondered aloud to each other
about what day we would, deliberately or by unspoken
neglectfulness, choose to lay it down.
That daring dream
of the picking up of somewhere else:
of owning a different
sky and afternoon shade:
of a not yet thought out life
kept our very breaths about us.
We held our own:
each other to believe in futures with money,
and an ocean view.
"To Les On The Trail"
I see your eyes,
as if you had grown the trees yourself,
as if you had come up with the idea of hill upon hill
Oak and Pine covered
(some green in every season)
They call to be marked and walked.
You flag the trail.
Your vibrant orange streamers announcing lines and boundaries,
waving bright pennants for the bright day,
and how could I do anything but love you,
you and your forest gift of such air?
You explain to me how the path, for erosion's sake, must curl
and so we weave and braid the woods
until the trees' skirts swirl down and waltz,
until the rising ground and I am dizzy - no - giddy
for this piece of land,
with all the infinite purposes that could be laid upon it,
and how the purpose chosen is simply to be looked at, admired:
for this earth where one must stand and say robust of heart,
"Good job God!"