I’d rushed there through the afternoon
In someone else’s borrowed car
Where you, distressed I’d come too soon,
Were giving samples in a jar.
The last I ever spoke with you
Was in that long, cold, darkened ward.
Snow washed outside like waves, and you
Were slipping slowly overboard.
The doctors, standing in a ring
Around your little chrome wheelchair
Diminished you, and everything
Was barely covered; open where
You sat, subdued, bone-naked, and
I thought of all your foppish ways —
Remembered you, so dark and tanned,
Painting the house; it took three days.
I’d brought the broken paper tree,
The cracked and faded ornaments
You gave so long ago to me,
Before the insults, and the rents.
I told you how you’d given them,
In case you had forgotten now.
You brightened for a moment when
I spoke. Your head began to bow.
Grape juice filled glasses meant for wine,
With all around half-dead or bored.
No cheery red, nor any pine,
Nor festive songs about our Lord.
And then they brought some soup for you.
You shrank, and would not eat unless
I tasted first. You feared a coup,
That even now you’d go. Please bless
My father in this awful place
Who once loved Christmas with his kin.
Let this brief visit bring some grace
To what is now, and what has been.
Source: Previously published in Victorian Violet, but no longer online
The Temptation of Looking Beneath The Surface
This lake is deep, its waters flow
From unknown sources, deep and free.
It takes us where we want to go,
At least, upon its surface. So
Although dark water runs below
This flat and placid plane we see
It hides those things we wish to know,
Some fathoms down. We take in tow
A boat, glass-bottomed, sure and slow
And rush to solve a mystery.
It is the same with you and me –
How futile to attempt to see
What we can never know, for we
Are never more than we can be —
Quite foolish. Stay upon the top —
When you see ripples, do not stop.