Not a meal, but a Saturday treat. Heirloom, of course, ripe with memories. Savoring the process of your hand moving, slow and smooth, the serrated knife laying each slice on the bread, each slice layered with mayo turning pink with juice. Now held in two hands, that second slice firmly in place, mayo in a bead, hugging the crust edge, juice falling to the plate in languid drops. Eyes closed with each bite, you relish this simple pleasure. My pleasure now in recalling this, bringing you back after so many years as I take my own bite and savor the memory.
Need I say already when so much time has passed, when each passing moment seems to take moments with it?
Sight and sound blurred and muffled, impressions that bring new meaning each time my mind tries to repeat them.
Amentalio. The word would be foreign to you, but I can imagine your reaction to it, that gesture not lost to me, yet. A shrug,
the slightest tilt of your head, followed by a question. How can you forget something that is such a part of your soul?
This poem is my response to Poetics: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, the prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use one of ten words taken from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, by John Koenig. I had written a poem using one of John Koenig’s words when they were still available to be seen on his website. Since that source is no longer available, I definitely will be getting a copy of the book, so thank you to Linda for the heads up.
Amentalio: the sadness of realizing that you’re already forgetting sense memories of the departed- already struggling to hear their voice, picture the exact shade of their eyes, or call to mind the quirky little gestures you once knew by heart.
A bench, at first, where solder flowed, and wires glowed in anticipation of the words and music that would dance across waves that filled the air before rasping from a tiny speaker.
A desk would follow, dials and needles on your radio measuring signals, those received from far places, yours, a response to those voices and clicks with your own.
I may have had the desire to follow, and you did encourage me, but my discomfort in talking to others over the air was just as real for me as talking to them in person.
Years later, I found myself at a desk, talking to the camera as I vlogged. It seemed that I was finally ready to talk to people, even if remotely. You would have enjoyed that.
These days, it’s blogging, and I could be anywhere. At the kitchen table or in a recliner with a laptop, or on my phone as I remember you and write a poem about your ham radio days.
This poem is my response to Poetics: In the Light of Other Days, the prompt from Laura Bloomsbury at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem recalling some specific thing or things from the past, or more generally about what evokes a memory or memories in you.
This late summer month, when the wind seldom gusts and the heat clings to the skin with an air of resignation, the knowledge that its persistence will not last, this month was your favorite. In your retirement you spent more time outdoors than in, as you gardened, tended to your animals, and prepared for the coming change in weather. Shirtless while mowing your acres of lawn or relaxing with a game of horseshoes, you wore that warm sun like it was your own. You were born to this month, and I always did see it as yours. You are always on my mind, but most especially in this month.
There’s no way to know when our time will come. I sure didn’t. Would I have done things differently if I did? Probably not. Life teaches as it tests, so we do the best we can with the time we have.
Who am I to say whether you learned your lessons well? I had my own lessons to learn, but those days are long gone. Yes, my life was cut short, but, hell, my family was cut short.
A brother I never knew, gone almost before he could breathe. My mother gone before I was fifteen, when I had to learn to breathe all over again for myself and my father, devastated for the rest of his life.
I learned early on not to expect something for nothing, that hard work brings rewards. Life may be cruel, but it can be just as generous. Your love, even since I’ve been gone, is proof.
You’ve had your own lessons to learn. Those that were easy balanced with trials. One at a time, you’ve managed. Life is meant to be lived one day at a time. Live it. Don’t dwell on the past. Continue to learn.
This poem may not be quite on prompt for Day 8 of napowrimo.net, which challenges us to “read a few of the poems from Spoon River Anthology, and then write your own poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead.” Mine is definitely not in the same style as those by Edgar Lee Masters. I chose to write it in the voice of my father – therapy for myself, probably, since it’s more in my “voice” than his. I suppose it could be an epilogue to my Day 6 poem, “Instillation.”
Blue collar, with roots deeper than any walnut or oak. I remember those black walnuts from Uncle Bill’s farm. Shells as hard as the hammer to break them. And bitter, but hard work can be that way. Even if a vacation on his dairy farm was more work than play, it still made great memories. He wasn’t a man to shy away from work.
Neither was his brother, whose lessons carried me through life. Even before I worked beside him on a loading dock, there was work in the yard, digging a trench for a foundation. Pulling the transmission out of one of my first cars and replacing it. Building a barn when he finally bought his own piece of land. The years I put in on the dock after he retired. The many years after that driving a truck, making deliveries. The lesson that got me through all of that was simple.
There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.
This poem is my response to Day 6 of napowrimo.net, which asks us to use a quote from a favorite book as inspiration and as the title for a poem, and then to change the title of the poem. The term TANSTAAFL (“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”) was a theme in “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress,” by Robert Heinlein, (1966). The complete phrase was already in use by the early 1940s.