Sunday, June 9, 2013

Three Poems by J.K. Durick


She lives in this moment, like any other,
noting every shade of meaning in my tone
and gestures, reads me seriously, a book
she knows well, dog-eared, grimy, almost
biblical, the first of the things she consults
mornings and nights. She has seen me in
my weakest moments and easily forgave me,
has seen my best and easily forgave me. She
quietly watches for hints about what’s next,
peeks around corners like a spy, follows me
like a stalker, shows a patience so Job-like,
so dog-like that I’ve spent hours trying to
imitate the immediacy of it, her endurance,
how being so perfectly in the moment can last
so long, can stretch out just like she does on
the floor right here, while I write poems, poems
she is always the first to hear.

I’ve slammed on the brakes so hard,
risked a rear-ender, to save them from
their childlike lapses,
found myself shouting warnings after them
as they bound away defiantly –
indifferent to my caring.
Trimming the Bushes
We counter nature’s progress this way.
We like to say, hey, they look shabby, as if 
they were homeless waifs we have taken in,
rebellious children we must tend to and
shape to our notion of a proper fit to
the lives we play for the neighbors, for
the world driving by. They should merely be
part of the scenery, a backdrop, a prop,
an extension of the script we’re playing out.
They should be a glimpse, a whisper, a little
out of focus, almost unnoticed, as subtle as
an earring, or a slight accent, a part of the
whole, without a separate role to play, with
no lines of their own to say. They should
conform to the norm we’ve set, like the lawn
and the deck chairs do, like the flowers and
the robins do. They need us this way, ask us,
call us to come out to play, a barber this time,
or like an ax man, a crazed tax man cutting
and pruning back to almost nothing. Why, I
have gone after these babies with a chain saw,
like some serial killer let lose at last, their worst
nightmare. Why, I’ve stood on my step ladder
and cursed the sun in my eyes, the fall I might
take, and the one last branch they put out there
just beyond my reach –  way the hell out here
just beyond my metaphoric reach.      
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Literary Juice, Napalm and Novocain, Third Wednesday, and Common Ground Review.

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