Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: J.K. Durick


Stepping across, carefully, there’s a stumble
built into this, a foot on the closest stone
then onto the next and next, till you have
crossed with your feet, shoes almost dry.
I did this in a dream last night, like when
I was young crossing that stream by my
in-laws camp in Bakersfield. It would be full
in the spring, the water racing downhill and
only a trickle by late summer. Crossing was
the challenge and I was young enough to do
it without thinking twice. And I remember
the stream up by Bingham Falls, even earlier
high school, college, and when I was first back
around here. I would step off and feel safe, so
surefooted that it was just another thing to do.
Now, even in my dream, I stumble then step out
and over, afraid the whole way, as if the streams
have been waiting for me, as cocky as I was,
waiting for me, ready to get their revenge.



They flee from me
from fear or instinct –
grey squirrels, the few red
even chipmunks run
scramble away
and birds of every feather
color and size, fly away
from something they fear
and yet
there I am, filling the feeders
sunflower seeds and seed mixes
handfuls of peanuts every morning
a free soup kitchen of sorts
but they flee from me
even when I use my soothing soft
voice, the one I reserve for small children
and animals of all sorts
and I make a real effort to seem
harmless, calm, slow moving
and yet
they flee from me
as if there’s a line we never can cross
and they’ll flee from me
regardless of what I try to do.


Last Day

With one day left before you leave
Planning becomes awkward
Dividing time between
The obligatory and the sentimental
Between the need to go and
The urge to stay
The what to do next and
The what can be left undone.
The hours slow down and
Then disappear
Get used up and are gone
As you become gone.
Last time I was caught in this
Awkward setting, this space and time
Twenty-four hours left
I walked around taking pictures
Random pictures of the place
I was leaving –
The table and chairs we sat in most
Afternoons, reading or just watching
The water around us
The statue we liked – that rabbit’s head
Its ears flopping forward
Even the couch and bedspread
And a single picture of my right foot
Held up to show the carpeting and how
Close my wife’s foot was on that carpet.
More the sentimental than the obligatory
But that’s what I did.

Leave a Reply

Related Posts