Patrick's writing has appeared in The Writing Disorder, Apeiron Review, and Dance Macabre.
When he is not reading or writing fiction, Patrick works as a union staffer, dreaming of workplace democracy for all.
if you can share experience
“It always makes it
if you can share experience”
-- you think to yourself
buckled next to the propeller
fying into the gaping face
of the grain moon
overwhelming everything with its
borrowed light on the night horizon
while the others around you
cough and sleep
and ask each other
if they are heading home
and then look out at the craters
and trail of
if such a thing happens
their wings beat so fast
they paint their colors
onto the air
their deep reds and blues
and copper tones
wrap around them
holding them where they hover
as they hunt for the nectar
that Grandy and I hung
in the tree near the bench-swing.
are you going to help little miss?
yes Grandy! he asked without looking up
hearing me scuffing along the row
his back bent away from me
knees in the soil
pulling the prickly ones out by the root
with his right hand gloved
his left picking the bugs
off the tall fat leaved ones
and putting them in a can
one hand doing its work and then the other
me sweating in the heavy wool
and vinyl eye-patch
I wore everywhere.
nothing in the sky
but the summer morning sun
I switched the eye-patch to the other side
but Grampa James sprays medicine on his plants.
that's not medicine, love
and I'm sure Grampa James has
his own reasons
but I don't do it because it kills the earth.
now come over here by me.
can you get the ladybugs like this?
dehe they're not ladies?
well they're certainly dressed right -
see them in their red polka-dot summer dresses?
do I put them in the can?
yes then later we'll move them somewhere better.
don't crush them.
can I keep them?
you can keep one but
you can't bring it in the house -
Gramma won't like it.
why do we have to take them of?
because this kind eats my plants.
why does the spray kill the earth?
because it has chemicals that
get into the ground.
both of us filling the can between us with
big round red polka-dot summer dresses
and then moving the can with us up the rows
that hide us under their green.
it's always better to do things
carefully with your fingers
than it is to carpet bomb everything
to get rid of a few bugs.
no I guess I was
talking again about Europe.
there were carpets?
no love, spraying pesticide is like warfare.
it all comes from the same place.
oh no Grampa James does it!
he probably doesn't think
of it that way:
you'll have to ask him.
can we call him later?
let's see what we get up to
when Gramma gets home.
she'll have stories for
us to hear.
Gramma and Grandy's farm
is a bazillion miles
with their house by the road
where we watch movies at night
and drink all the soda pop we want
and it has a deck where
the dollhouse Grandy built for me stays
and Grandy's garden is in the field
and his horses Skip and Shady
behind the fence I shouldn't go by
and the woods behind them
with the train tracks that got pulled up
because people use cars now
and far back in the woods the river
smells like candy
the mint plants -- that people and horses can eat --
grow along it thick where Skip brings us on his back because
that's a better place for the ladybugs
so that's where we empty them from the bucket.
look Grandy, Miss Ladybug is napping
I held her up cupped in my hand
so he could see
he saw and nodded and smiled but she leapt
and dropped into his wineglass
he picked her out
gently by the sides
his fingers barely fitting into the glass
then he dabbed her on his shirt
put her back in my palm
and took a sip of wine.
oh no Grandy, you'll get sick!
from the bug!
no love, anything bad from
will be taken care of by the alcohol.
not to worry.
one time a fruit fy got in Uncle Dan's drink
and he swore and poured it out.
well I'm sure he has his own reasons.
the chain of the bench swing
creaked if we went too high
which we weren't supposed to do
because it wasn't that kind of swing.
us swinging by the tree
with the sun moving
behind the house
and the chalky moon out
early in the daylight
Grandy would point out
the hummingbirds -
the arc their wings made
their sharp zigzag movements
their long stem beaks
which have come to be formed
perfectly for their work
how peaceful they were
and that he knows it's fanciful
but if such a thing happens
in any manner
he would like to come back as a hummingbird.
which is what I was thinking about just now
when you caught me staring.
us seeing these birds makes me think of him
and what he would say now I wonder
if I could piece it together
from the traces of him that I recollect.