The Next Day

This is an old poem I wrote about fathers and sons, relationships, love and being an immigrant. I think I wrote it a half dozen or so years after my father passed and maybe a year or two after I broke up with a woman who I thought I was going to marry. I think the scene derives a bit from my grandmother’s (dad’s mom) funeral ceremonies. She passed four years after he did.

 

The Next Day

 

As our language thrived

father faltered in his bed

trying to push his once strong thoughts

the noise

he succumbed to

the pitter patter

_____beeps from machines

__________ sounds of the gong

 

My nephew blows into a fifty year-old

rhino horn for fun

delight

mimicking the old man

in flowing silks and flat linens

he hops around like a manic Easter Bunny

_____pink and red and white

__________flapping against the wind

 

According to records

he would have been fifty-five

the next day

but who knows

 

about the next day

 

she wakes and walks

into a room of smoke

smell of freshly slaughtered swine

the horror hidden when she sees

the lips of the creature, already puckered

_____pursed for a devilish kiss

 

Shrill cry of the child

_____ripping the room’s sheet of smoke

I hand my younger nephew to her

the reluctant acceptance

he reaches right for her brown tresses

still ruffled from the cat nap

 

I almost felt bad about sleeping with her

the night before

we were quiet, almost motionless. Breathless.

The unfamiliar room.

I wanted a new life

a replacement

someone new to love

the timing was wrong

it never happened

 

The words terse,

ensuring no slips.

Nothing wasted,

nothing given.

Guarding ourselves;

what can happen.

 

Oh, the memories.

 

The soundtrack the light provides

the clichés we avoid with might

we don’t want to make love

pushing the trap away

 

the scorn we possess

 

And we watched and waited.

And we talked and waited.

 

Driving through the hills

with the beautiful trees

dying again with their sunset foliage:

This exodus into the ground.

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