Elaine

My father was thirty eight when he died

I was barely seven

Mother took me to Spain to ease the pain

Help the healing and never forget

His death had crushed her heart

Part of mine too at the time

The soft white sand slipped through our toes

The cloudy night covered the stars

Transformed them into lost diamonds in the dark

My sunburnt skin itchy beneath my souvenir shirt

 

And then the rain came straight from the heavens

Her sad face and wet hair a sight I would never forget

I found a tiny shell and she held my hand

The castaway clasped between our palms

A momento mori of what was to come

For mother and son

 

For years after she would take me walking in the rain

Walking in the rain with Elaine we would sing

Just like the song

The tiny shiny shell always came too

Clutched between our dripping hands

Sometimes warm

Sometimes frozen

 

One day she tried to wake me from my teenage dreams

But I was growing tired of walking with Elaine in the rain

So she went on her own

And never returned

 

After searching for several days they found her body

She was bloated and floating face down in the local river

Partly wedged under a fallen tree

Somewhat hidden from public view

There was rumour it was murder

But I knew just how much her life had been blighted by grief

Since Dad had passed away exactly ten years before

 

We drove to the Chapel of Rest in Uncle Don’s white van

And there she was

All peaceful looking in her long wooden box

Her hands folded neatly across her chest

Like a sleeping martyr I guessed

I reached into my pocket and found the tiny shiny shell

I kissed it gently for a lingering moment and lovingly

 

Leaning over the coffin pushed it under her cold fingers

Safely wedged in the palm of her right hand

The hand that held mine when we went walking in the rain together

 

Here

Take this Mum, I whispered

And when you meet with Dad

Wherever that might be

Take a walk in the sunshine

And maybe think of me

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Home Schooling

I don’t like the smell of these candles! said Peter.

It’s all I could get hold of, his mother replied.

They smell of sick and dead things!

When is the electricity coming back on?

I don’t know Peter. When it can, I suppose.

 

Peter and his Mum sat huddled together,

Curled up under blankets on the comfy sofa,  

Watching the TV that would never work.

Not without electricity. The candle flickered,

A reflection in a screen of blankness.

 

When is Jane coming home? asked Peter.

Your sister has found a new home, mother replied.

Is it up in Heaven? asked Peter.

Yes dear, I’m sure it is. Mother smiled.

Did she take her arms and legs with her?

 

Outside the street was deserted,

Ominous thunder shook the world.

Peter imagined it wasn’t thunder.

He imagined his Dad up there somewhere,

Like Jane, but in a different way.

 

No school again tomorrow, said his Mum,

We have to go fetch water, find some food.

I’m hungry! said Peter, and bored!

I know, said his Mum, I know.

This game’s not fun anymore!

 

home-schooling

The Keeper of Thoughts

so Bill

I was just wondering

when will you be done

taking your photographs

you were never this long

in the roll of film days

when you had a couple dozen shots

but now there’s no stopping you

 

my mother had always been

just wondering

patiently sat filing her nails

flicking through glossy magazines

Harpers and Queen

Vanity Fair

the breathtaking scenery

had never interested her

 

we’d drive out each weekend

take the Oldsmobile panting up

The Skyline Drive or

Blue Ridge Highway

there were swallowtails

and black bears

if you knew just where to look

and point your toy pistols

 

mother watched

from the passenger seat

window wound down

breeze blowing her mini beehive

the ten most alluring women

in the world

she would read out loud and

how to marry a billionaire Bill

 

poor father was a delivery man

never an ambitious bone

in his weary body

the long hours delivering parcels

exacted a price on his arthritis

but you would not hear him complain

just a few more minutes honey

he would quietly say

 

all those Kodachrome slides

he never showed or looked at them

they sat boxed

gathering dust

like his simple thoughts

over time he feared he would one day lose

our sunny days wandering Big Meadows

with mother in the car wondering

 

the names of our favorite places

still sing in my ears

they echo out from overlooks

call me back each year

to Riprap Trail

Hawksbill Gap

Elkwallow and

Bacon Hollow

 

now I am the keeper of his thoughts

unlocked and free to wander

projected overhead

we watch them on the big screen

there’s me I point

pistols at the ready

and mom smiling and waving

a cripple with withered legs

 

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(apologies for posting this poem twice on the Daily Post one word prompt slot. My other blog is winding down now that I am coming to the end of my travels and I inadvertently added this to that although it does have relevance there too. Managing multiple WordPress blogs from a smartphone is not always without its glitches)