The swing creaks under two generations
A deep sigh punctuates the air
As beer comes to the old father’s lips,
Crickets reminding him how many years
He’s spent with his son on this porch.
And night owls ask him when they will end.
“you know, I’ve been thinkin’ ‘bout your girl”
“She’s smart, all right…”
The son took his cue to sigh
Passing his gaze through the cold heavy air
Watching the tall grass blow in the breeze,
And moths float toward the porch light,
After a false moon.
“Could you picture her here?
She ain’t really a country girl.
I rocked you on this porch swing,
You chased fireflies in this field.
Tumbling down, stained by this very grass
Did she ever get stained by grass as nice as ours?”
The son looked at his dad’s deep blue eyes
Deep not just in color—
The same as the rustic sky—
But in memories.
Memories of fishing in the backyard
Rides on the tractor
And loving among the thistles, owls, moths,
Cattails, bass, dear, chickens, and old Sal the hound.
His face was wrinkled by the son’s warm embrace,
He saw all of this as he stayed silent.
“Boy, I sure do love her…
Especially since you love her,
But I ain’t never known a woman
With a law degree
And boots with them heels
Who was happy out here.
She smells like smoke and city and speed
And I thought I raised you in the country air”
“Papa, you taught me to love nature”
“That’s what I’m doing”
The hound barked from the porch, and came over
To join in the conversation.
Adding the thump of his tail against
Worn grey wood
To the song of the farm.
“Pops when I see her hair blowing
In the car when she drives way too fast
Or when I get a message about her day
Of long classes
I see nature”
“She’s a storm, unpredictable but
So lovely in its madness.
I can’t keep up but I love tryin’
Like running in the rain.
We live out here in one type of world
And she comes from bustle and city,
But there’s nothing unnatural about how
Her eyes glow and shine after a long day’s work.
As pretty as the constellations in fall,
I swear to you”
The dad’s smile creeped up
And the owl no longer seemed critical
But like he was harking for details
“Go on boy…”
“Dad you taught me that even weather
Lightning, fire, storms
She isn’t our quiet field, or serene pond
But she could be the wind and rain that ripples it”
Just then, a trout jumped
And the moths kept searching for Diana
And the old man heard the voice of his
Long gone wife in his head.
And felt how long it’d been since they had
Seen any rain.
I look off into the darkness
I see the moon’s reflection upon the water
It illuminates my soul
I see the ripples of a boat’s wake
Off in the distance I hear a scream
It may be a werewolf or a small child
Bells start ringing their eerie tune
Then all of a sudden — silence —
I look around but see nothing
I listen for a small noise but hear nothing
Out of nowhere I’m in the water
Being pulled down helplessly
Thrashing around and screaming for help
Then all is quiet and calm again
A static willow sprung into life —
Expanding and contracting as one
Inhaling and exhaling —
With every gust
Vapor collects overhead
The Darkness lingers
Shadows extend in all directions —
The World is consumed
Dense clouds erupt —
Power surges with every strike
Life contracts —
Enduring its greatest foe
Silence sets in
Stationary, it patiently waits —
Breathing in, breathing out
Time has no end
Evenings spent under the warm gaze of the sun
By each other’s side
Together our minds were
On each other
Osculating, a common activity
Your intentions to love me
Yet you proved my undertaker
Definitions may differ
I had ulterior purpose
Your eyes seemed accepting
I escaped your grasp to overcome you
Intoxicated by your fragrance and appeal
Anything beyond was overwhelming
One wrong move
Your love you would remove
Purity, the entire root of the ordeal
Suddenly I was a monster in your eye
The relationship was now contrite
Due to my audacity
And because you were shy
Separated and rejected
How could you put me in this situation
Monthly trying to conform to your favor
Finally with you once more
You fool me
Speak of how mature
You have become
My own mistake has forced me to end
I would rather fry here
Than rot there
Definitions can differ
And demonstrations can too
So why don’t you
Cry to the him some more
How you were taken advantage of
While they bust down my door
And I tell myself
How I should have moved on
The white noise above the water
Will finally be silenced
With the sound
Of my cleansing
The sunless sky approaches.
He wakes up as others go to sleep,
Alone under the starry curtain,
Starts roaming around the house.
He was seeking for some time alone,
Time to reorganize and look back on his day.
Time, too swift and busy in the morning,
Slows down and rest during the hours of darkness.
He enjoys solitude and freedom in the gloom.
Sensing each and every minute passing,
Recaptures morning and observes night.
Light approaches and Time resumes its work.
Meanwhile, he becomes insensible once again,
Waiting until the night sky resurges.
The sun sets, but we don’t see it
A bird flies by and the eye follows
It soars aimlessly into the atmosphere
Then it is gone.
Crickets chirp loudly
There is no break in their song
There is rhythm to it and
Not long after – it is gone
My ears grow deaf
As the song repeats
But there are intangibles
To keep me on my feet
Shady Side Academy's literary magazine, established 1928