This is what vacation is for:
to not take a shower,
to wear clothes that
do not match in color
or style or texture,
to leave scratch on the face
to ignore the clock and rise
when the sun seems the right
height, or wind tells an early
morning story using the voice
of the forest, the whispers
of a million green leaves
that brush blue sky
to change rhythm of the day
until the soul realigns
with grass as it bends,
with water when it turns
from glass to wave
to moonlit streak,
to ease the ache inside
that comes from ignoring
mind and heart
as they wrestle the clock,
settle rather than choose,
and then wonder why
I never live in the moment.
So far today, I found grape stems left
on the table next to the rocking chair,
candy wrapper next to the two-week-old puzzle,
the attic light left on from last night’s excursion
in search of a forgotten photo album.
I loaded the washing machine with clothes,
then failed to hit the start button.
Neither one of us own up to the food leftovers.
We can’t agree whether the pictures already
made it as a slideshow on one of our computers,
nor why we even craved the memories.
The laundry can wait.
These walls may contain 2100 square feet,
yet we sense the squeeze as if we inhabit
a remote cabin with two small rooms,
one cot, no exit door, and a pantry shelf
sparse on food and stocked with alcohol.
None of it assists with mental acuity.
A pandemic creates a moat around our lives.
The drawbridge is lowered only
for visits with toddler grandkids, who
otherwise grow in miniature on a smartphone
while we share stories on Facetime.
We doublemask in the Target parking lot
when we tire of watching Jeopardy from the same
sunken space on couches across from each other.
Suburban boxstores substitute as tourism
for bored covid claustrophobics.
At 4:00am, she knocked. As I opened the door, her look said she was hoping for someone else. A short coat covering a thin casual dress in early December air didn’t provide her any comfort. Shivering, she said her name was Toni, looking for Mike. Her tone and the tentative catch in her voice implied that even she doubted the name. Alcohol is an inaccurate mapping aid; our street name meant nothing to her, the neighborhood was foreign land. Silence became the primary thing between us. When it became clear she was at the wrong place, she walked away. “Our car is around the corner.” I saw and heard nothing.
solace can fail
at dark hours
silence is no savior
David Walsh grew up in rural upstate New York and spent his career working for local and state government. His interests include history; the impact of technology on society; and baseball. He was greatly influenced by poetry workshops taken at the Chautauqua Institution. His poetry has appeared in Spitball, NINE, museum of americana, Manhattanville Review, Haibun Today, Adirondack Review, From Whispers to Roars, and The Twinbill. David and his wife, Pam, live in the Capital Region of New York.