Michael A. Griffith began writing poetry after a disability-causing accident. His chapbooks Bloodline (The Blue Nib Imprint) and Exposed (Soma Publishing and Hidden Constellation Press) were released in November 2018. Mike was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for poetry in October 2018 from Ariel Chart. He lives in Hillsborough, NJ and teaches at Raritan Valley Community College. He is Poetry Editor (USA & Canada) for The Blue Nib.
The clogged toilet, the ever-damp towels, some sounds we’ve grown used to not hearing. The TV on long after we've gone up to bed, gobbled-up WiFi and cereal.
Our children have come for a weekend visit, bringing laundry, some news, and a few new jokes from college. Pictures of places we've never seen and friends we'll never meet, plans of how to spend time while they're here, a few golden rare hours we get to spend with them.
Grown in ways we could not anticipate with goals all their own. Futures we hope to see and share, but no guarantees are here, only the laundry, the chatter, the bowls with milk still, and some bread crumbs. “Bye bye. See you next time.”
Tanzanite. Dinosaurs dancing as emojis try to talk. Charity popcorn in five flavors. Autism speaking as several cancers shout.
Aquamarine. I care about cancer more now that we are in love, but I still don't fear my death.
Amber. Fly with me. Be still with me. Get stuck in me.
Diamond. Shine just for me. Dance only for me, Talk to me.
Jade. Be old with me.
When nuclear war was the realist's fear, before AIDS, Ebola, Ebonics, Ebay... we split, divided before these things evolved. Live Aid was our Woodstock, nouveau hippies, pseudo cools, in love on smoke-hazed weekends.
Your cells traveled so far, while mine stayed, comfortable in the petri dish gel as we both expanded expanded
apart. I wish we could join together, form a temporary tissue, relive our past as cameras can,
if even just for some hours to feel the haze once more, smoke leading to fire to see ourselves
once more as we were, with membranes of what we've become not mutations of what we might have been.
Arms tired, hands like useless crane shovels, legs strong but stiff as tree trunks. Your shoulders
have held others up, as the cane you'd just as soon leave at the Elks' hall after bingo supports you now.
Now you sit fiddling with glasses three years too old, eyes awash, blinking, reading about a man who you voted for but wouldn’t now.
Now a car passes, its music thump- ing like the metal press at the foundry where you gave your best years, your best blood.
Blood in your hanky, your coughing, your dreams. You tell no one. It is your job now to hide such things, to protect
your family, your friends, the few who are still here, who still might worry, might wonder. Tired, how tired too soon.
Too soon to go to bed, Jeopardy isn’t half-over yet, and your son might yet call. But you start to doze after the first lightning round, the first can, the first
star appears low on the horizon. Cloudy later on, a drizzle falls, your son doesn’t call. You wake, neck sore, chest heavy. Sluggish, down
the hall you get into bed, then lie there, staring into the dark, sounds of the bingo games and metal press ringing through your head.