Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Carl Papa Palmer

Ollie Ollie

Giggling, she runs from the family room couch
where I sit and count, both hands over my eyes.
“1,2,3,4,5 and 5 is 10. Ready or not, here I come.”

First, in the kitchen, opening and slamming cabinet
drawers and doors, “No, not here. Not here, either,”
repeated loud while lifting corners of the tablecloth,

again as I look under a chair cushion, behind the curtain,
then seek into the living room to flip pages of a book
on the shelf, “She’s sure hiding good, where can she be?”

Muffled laughter in the closet, ever her same hiding spot,
as I pass the half open door, again not seeing her crouched
smiling presence as I continue my search into the hall.

“I wonder where that girl can be, I’ve looked everywhere.”
A tug on my pant leg, I turn around in wild surprise,
“Here I am, Papa, right here. See. You couldn’t find me.”

“You certainly are a wonderful hider, much better than me.
Now it’s my turn.” She counts with covered eyes as I slip
into the closet, same place as when her mommy was small.

Mommy’s Dance

Watching her in the kitchen
as she does dishes at the sink
oldies playing loud on the radio
Kate Smith White Cliffs of Dover
Patti Page Tennessee Waltz
Doris Day Whatever Will Be Will Be
She sings smiles into her sponge microphone
How Much Is That Doggie In The Window
dressed in her bibbed apron evening gown
swaying with her dashing dishtowel partner
Sashaying the linoleum ballroom floor
to big band music Glenn Miller playing
back ground for At Last with Etta James
Twirls while opening drawers cabinet doors
wipes the cupboard counter crooning
Yes Sir That’s My Baby by Count Basie
Gives a deep curtsy to her damp string mop
soft shoes to Bye Bye Blackbird exits stage
right to that place in my heart for Mommy

Mass Magician

In the pew between the altar and us
the young mother tries to calm her toddler
during Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

The cranky child distracts focus from our
priest’s recount of the Christ child’s story.

Reverently catching the little boy’s eye
my dad unscrews his right index finger
to reveal the stub to the astounded lad.

Dad wiggles his undone finger a bit before
screwing it back on in blessed silence of the
serene child of God and a grateful congregation.


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