Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Poem by Patrick Lawrence O'Keeffe

Kitchen Clock

You have to wait for tomatoes—
just as you do for any poem.
Oh—I know—I've done it too.
A wink from bi-focal man
at the rear of the hardware store
who slips you a bag of secret dust.
Guarantee of early ripening.

A tomato's true love is manure
my brother taught me when I was six
the summer he came home from the army
and had me help start a garden late.
Withdrawing spade from dark pile
heaped high in the wheelbarrow
from a mound behind the barn
he one-eyed it over extended thumb.
"Exaxctly half a shovel each," he pronounced.

Oh—I know—fertilizers you work in
may push rythms well past the ear
induce artificial rhymes to blossom.
Pick poems early with a gardener's grin
and alone under the pale glow
of late-night kitchen clock
they just won't slice right.
Hollow spaces in secret places
where seed ought to plenty.
Unfinished fibers vein the fruit.

You have to wait for tomatoes—
just as you do for any poem.
I know—having grown one with manure
from a garden late that summer
my brother finally came home.

Patrick Lawrence O’Keeffe is a poet and freelance writer. Raised on a Pennsylvania dairy farm, he resides in Port Clinton, Ohio, with his wife Karen. Published materials include humorous Op-Ed essays in the South Bend (Indiana) Tribune, book reviews in the Morrow County (Ohio) Sentinel, poems in the Blue Lake Review and Erie Wire, and self-published works of poetry and fiction. When he is not machining crankshafts on the evening shift, he scribbles verse and stories in a red pocket notebook. A participant in the Firelands Writing Center, he reads his poems at Mr. Smith’s Coffee House in Sandusky, Ohio.

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