The Death of Me

Something is killing
My love of the printed page.
I try hard to delve
Into a good book,
And end up shelving it.

When did it go wrong? Did it happen
In stages, catch me unawares?
I long for those days of yore
When I waited patiently
For the book-filled truck
Bringing volumes by the score,
Every Wednesday.
When I would load my arms
With as many as I could,
Carting them home to pore through,
And take each word to heart.

Is it this device
I have afore me now?
These easy keys allow
The sharing of all my secrets,
Trying not to bore
With what might make
You turn elsewhere?

Is it brain-circuits, not
Firing as before, unable to absorb
Anything of length or strength
Or train-of-thought?

I ought to shut this down,
Pick up a tome that rests in dust
Upon the weighty shelf,
Or else, I’ll lose myself.

Or else,
I’ll lose
Myself.

Kathleen Mortensen ©2016

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Swing-set

It was your day.
We went for a stroll
to while the time away—
just like you, to keep it simple.

The sun was glaring at us
and we’d left our shades at home,
still, we roamed along
the new cement that lines the road—
listening to a jay’s shrill cries,
as if to say, happy birthday.

I was keen to fool around,
running across the road to the
green playground,
where old-time swings
hang waiting to sway.
The seat was soaked,
from the night’s rain.
I wiped my sleeve back and forth
in the pool of water;
you whipped out a tissue
to mop up the rest.

It’s your day, you first! I laughed.
You were quick to settle in
to the rubber sling, your feet
rising from the sand.

I pushed the small of your back
with splayed hands,
and felt like a kid again,
waiting for a turn
to be the one having all the fun.

Up you rose, higher and higher,
flying back into your childhood memories,
where I don’t belong.

Those strong chains,
held on and I let you go,
pumping those legs like a little boy
with grass-stained knees,
rising up to the trees and sky beyond.

“Don’t jump off”, I warned.
You dragged your toes,
until the swing came to a halt,
and stepped away,
a fifty-four year old married man again.

Then, I grabbed the iron chains,
lifting my seat
into the black, rubber swing.
You stood and gave a good shove;
I drifted high into a dream of
hazy days when

it was my daddy
behind me.

Slowing down, I looked over
at the plastic slide
on the other side of the park,
recalling the singe of metal
on the backs of thighs
and felt the sting
of time.

Kathleen Mortensen ©2016

Time On My Hands IV

I wake and stretch;
fingers resist, insisting
on their preferred curl—
unfurling
reluctantly along with
tired limbs.

There’s black dirt
trapped beneath short nails—
residue from mulch
hand-spread on parched ground.

We are both drying up,
the earth and I.

This organ, this skin
is burnished by the sun,
all-weathering.

Its network of fine lines
weaves organic leather
preserving the underneath.

These hands,
God willing,
may serve—’til my death.

Kathleen Mortensen @2016

 

Please visit the below links to read the first three poems in this series.  Thank you.

Time On My Hands III

Time On My Hands II

Time On My Hands I

Grandad

We never met,
But there were stories
He was a bastard
In more ways than one.
He put at least
A dozen buns in Granny’s oven
And drank himself into
A fairly early grave
With money
She tried in vain
To save.
He was deeper
Than he appeared,
At least, my dad said so,
But he could lash out,
And he passed on
That trait, I’ll tell you.
He may have been
A philanderer.
Still,
If he’d never
Fathered my father,
I’d not be here
To slander him.

Kathleen Mortensen @2016

Like this piece? Here’s a sweeter take on my Irish heritage. HUM

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