Compass

Now that I can only
limp rather than
walk in a straight line,
and can seldom achieve
the end of the block without resting,
I finally bought one. It’s here

by the coffee my heart doctor
wants me to quit, and the towering
stack of blank travel journals
that will always be
empty.

Our Story Arc

The beginning, the first time was incredibly
simple: you smirked, you rolled your eyes
and said ‘that isn’t how’
and the next time with a wider smirk and a tad more
authority ‘that isn’t what’
and weeks, months, years later there were no longer
smirks or eye rolls, instead
you glared and snarled with angry impatience,
and I walked away, so
far away that we couldn’t see each other
glancing back over our shoulders,
and will never know
if either of us did.

The Art of the Deal

It used to be more than his job. It was a career. It was his profession, his identity. No, it used to be even more…it was art. As surely as Picasso swished a brush or Michelangelo altered stone. A twist of experience, a dash of street sense. Don’t speak. Put the deal on the table and wait. He did it well. He did it easily. He thought he would do it forever. Rake in money. Toss crumbs to the cold and hungry gathered outside that fancy house he lived in. Put the deal on the table and wait. If old folks want to sell out, their house too cumbersome, their children caught up putting their children through school, make friends with the wives. Visit after all the lunch meetings when she’s just put the beef steak on the counter to thaw, covered with a bit of tin to keep the cat off. She’ll have time to talk then. Keep a ready supply of ink pens and contracts ready. Put the deal on the table and wait. Now, his Buick is parked in a great nephew’s unheated garage, and he can’t make it beyond the front stoop without his cane. From the senior van he eyeballs the value of houses on the way to buy groceries. In this market he’d be able to put in a second swimming pool, shallow enough for the babies to play in, like Margaret always wanted. He’d could take her to Belize. But he couldn’t take Margaret anywhere anymore; she lies in bed all day, staring at the ceiling. She doesn’t remember who he is. He plays cards with friends he’s made at the senior center. They bet straws and coffee stirrers. He does well. Puts the deal on the table and waits.