J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Social Justice Poetry, Tuck Magazine, Yellow Chair Review, Synchronized Chaos, and Haikuniverse. Jerry D.
Birthdays changed the year my mother
Sent a card, then called
A month too soon.
She sounded betrayed, somehow,
When I finally said,
But mom, it's in August.
After a pause she said,
What are you saying?
I, if anyone, should know
When my children were born.
A fear, new to her, a fear
We'd all get to know so well,
Had settled to the bottom of her voice.
Out here they wait for Godot,
Pass time as best they can,
Blend to this background of gray
The full array of gray --
Weather off the North Atlantic,
Limestone melting down into itself.
A limestone so porous even
Rain passes through,
Stays slippery underfoot
But never holds long enough
To puddle or encourage growth.
A few wildflowers cling to life
In the crevices, out of this wind.
Their purple and yellows fail
To soften the moment.
This is the twilit surface
Of the moon, the wasteland,
The aftermath, Purgatory,
What we escaped from, what
We know we are coming to.
Folks around here like to tell
How Cromwell's armies mourned
This absence of trees, trees to hang
The nearest papists from, nor water
To drown them in, no ground
For graves, nor dirt for the living
To cover up their dead.
Weather weighs too much around here
affects more than just mood and travel
plans. It clings to us like someone else’s
clothes we took by accident from a dryer
at a laundromat we no longer can find.
Why, today is too small, a very tight fit,
restrictive, ready to rip open anytime;
this tear in the seam seems to get wider
each time I stand or walk around a bit.
Of course, you know I’d never wear this
color, and these boyish stripes make me
look older than I really am and fatter.
No need to mention fatter for that matter;
the day puts pounds on everyone here – it
weighs, it stays, like uninvited guests, like
unfinished business, like the flu, like bad
politics, bad plums, and, of course, bad verse.