Saturday, December 19, 2015

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Waiting Room

First time seeing this doctor,
a specialist. Took a month
to get an appointment.
The waiting room’s packed.
I grab the last seat 
next to a lady in a wheelchair
knitting something,
perhaps for a grandchild. 

I pull out my cell phone 
like everyone else
but just to check messages,
not into games.  
No one’s looking at magazines,
it seems, any more.
It’s a cell phone world,
messages and Tic-Tac-Toe.

Half an hour later the lady 
stops knitting and whispers
“Sit back and relax, son. 
Life’s a waiting room.
We all have appointments.
Every name is called.
Even those who believe
no doctor is in.

Remainder Bin

We write the stories 
of our lives between 

the bookends 
of birth and death

They stay on the shelf 
as long as we live

and then go in 
the remainder bin 

after we die.
No one buys them

and the paper’s recycled 
to print the stories 

of millions of people
yet to be born 

except for the stories 
that are never told.

They are the stories
Planned Parenthood sells.

Fly Fishing

Many years ago Miriam’s parents 
took the kids for the weekend 
while she and Jack motored north 
to fish for trout in Montana 
at Miriam's request. 

Unsteady in her hip-waders 
but casting with abandon,
Miriam lobbed a snide remark 
and the hook snagged Jack's ear.

Jack told her not to worry
just a tiny bit of blood.
He'd put a band-aid on it 
back at the cabin
before he fried 
the rainbow trout still
wriggling in her creel.

Decades later Jack is back
at the cabin with his Phyllis,
a quiet woman who
has never cast for trout.  
He thinks she’ll do well.

Jack’s lost track of Miriam,
who sold the house long ago.
The kids are on their own.
He still scratches the ear 
where an itch recalls 
Miriam’s remark.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. 

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