and, overnight, fall
fall the leaves
fall the mercury
fall the crisp carpeting dead to begin the blanket
fall the snow another blanket to hide beneath
to lie beneath
what lies beneath
I searched for the word mercury to see if I’d posted this poem here before. I didn’t find it, but I found an amusing bit I wrote about the end of the universe, inspired one morning as I tried not to listen to the feed mill 100 yards up the street from our home in Wisconsin.
The wind howled so loud he could just make out his cell phone, ringing his mother’s home phone. Maybe it wasn’t turned up all the way. Didn’t matter; he daren’t give up one hand in the fight against the steering wheel.
It was why he’d moved here, to watch over his aging mother. He didn’t begrudge his brother and sister their lives; he’d have moved here for the beauty of the place, not to mention the economical lifestyle it allowed.
He didn’t begrudge his mother the gentle neediness of a twice-widowed elderly woman. She’d mellowed in her age. Less mourning, more reminiscing.
He’d begrudge the final call, though, when it came. Her apartment door would be unlocked, as it always was. He’d step in, calling her, but she’d not answer. She never did, whether she couldn’t hear him or just wasn’t answering.
That’s what he’d begrudge: the finding, then the calling, the endless mourning of others on his behalf.
It started to snow as he slowed for the series of camera-topped speed-limit signs at the edge of town.
Turning onto Main Street, he heard his phone ring through to her voice mail, finally. The wind blew less fiercely between the buildings so he pulled his left glove off in his right armpit and pressed the hang-up button on his phone, dropping it clunk rattle back into the door handle of the van.
Before my parents married my father was in the Air Force, stationed for most of the duration in Alaska. He spent his time as a radio operator on a Tin Goose, the historic Ford Trimotor. When he left the Air Force he was given a plane ticket home to Wisconsin.
Another chap who got out at the same time sold his plane ticket and bought an old Packard, declaring it was cheaper to drive home to the mid-west, and then he could sell the car.
I’m not sure if it was my father’s love of adventure or his notoriously thrifty spirit, but he sold his plane ticket and rode along.
He regretted it.
Continue reading “The Packard Door That Wouldn’t Close (or, The Al-Can Highway is No Place for a Nap)”