Haiku 8.2

 

Slatted metal doors, 
Old spray painted graffiti –
Shiny new padlocks

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Actuary

The first was an I told you so, an
I could see it coming for years; the second
an aberration, startling, unexpected, difficult to comprehend,
now, every morning, needing only the fingers on one hand,
we count; we clean and spruce up;
we take our own measure;
now, some of us together, some of us alone, now
we wait.

Fiction Journal 06.28.2017

The first bench seat on the driver’s side of the bus was completely empty – no broken legs, no canes, no walkers – of course, the bus itself was almost empty; it being early summer and so many people gone home; at any rate, I felt blessed; I could put my purse and iced coffee right there in the first seat, sit in the second, and still have room for my shopping bag on the third. Eventually an old woman with a cane got on but she sat in a regular seat; kept giving me the evil eye; I thought maybe my ear buds were too loud but she said no, no they weren’t, with a stern, uncongenial face; so I ignored her disapproval and she eventually started to knit, well, not knit but roll the yarn into balls; she was fast at it but I don’t see why anyone bothers these days; the bus filled up quickly, I was so grateful I found a seat; but wished the old lady with the evil eye would mind her own business; it isn’t like I was doing anything wrong; her face darkened when an old man got on; I noticed as he stopped by the seat where I’d stashed my coffee and purse that he was very shaky; his legs didn’t look as if they would hold him let alone climb the stairs to the back of the bus, but he made it; so did the well-dressed man with stylish, gray hair and designer sunglasses – he was good looking for an old guy – he hesitated by my shopping bag, raised his sunglasses with one hand, and gave me a frustrated sidelong glance, but I kept right on sipping my coffee as if he wasn’t even there.

Doves

At first it felt like a hole —
one that sheared
straight through the muscle fiber.

Early in the day when Dad was at work
and everyone else had left for school,
my mother and I would walk
to my grandmother’s house.
Sometimes I’d hold her hand.
Sometimes I would run on ahead.
And always there would be the beautiful sound
of those birds. Doves, my mother would say,
morning doves. How glorious, I thought.
God created these softly colored birds
specifically to celebrate the day.
Years later — when there was no longer
a grandmother to visit, a mother to walk with,
a father to go off to work, those
who could always be counted on — that I could hear
what she actually meant.

Recently, I reached back into my chest,
pushed aside the spongy lungs and the venous
tangle of cords, to search
for that hole torn into my heart.
There’s a scar there now, crisscrossed and pearl-like,
inked with every name I know for love.

When my fingers stroked its feathers gently,
my heart started to coo.