Tuesday, August 20, 2013

J.K. Durick- Three Poems

We apprehend the beginning
and the end before they arrive.
Before they arrive we begin to
Survive the dull meeting,
the stern rebuke, the doctor’s
ominous words.
We greet them all -- the ominous,
or stern, or dull coming
up the street toward us,
waving, know them well.
We crave the presence of
the future, the answer before
the question, their applause in
advance of our dance.
We shake the present
hold it up to the light
Study it, speculate, surmise,
read our tea leaves, and realize.

I’m tired of Death and all his dying
and those black clothes
he’ll wear everywhere he goes.
That old grim Reaper, the grim Weeper
coming up the walk, walking up,
waking up the dread,
ringing the bell, bringing the dead –
the call in the middle of night,
the fright it brings, it rings,
and he’s there on the stair waiting
anticipating my one last play
my hope to delay
the casual necessity of him and
his dim ironic grin.
I’m tired of Death and all this dying,
but while I bemoan it, I know
I can’t postpone it.
Death arrives with a swagger
that would stagger the best of us –
and, of course, he’ll be coming
for the rest of us.

Hints of beyond
As far as the eye can see
Even further…
I’ve been on mountaintops
On clear days
I’ve stood on decks
As the shore faded
Watched out car back windows
Going away
I have watched the horizon
From airplanes
I’ve walked the beach
Looking outward
Called out and
Waited for an echo
Stood in doorways
At windows
In terminals
In stations
By the sides of too many roads
I have saved up
Bought tickets
Planned and planned
Made calls
Sent letters and emails
I have longed for
And waited
Asked for help
And heard nothing
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Decades Review, Northern New England Review, Third Wednesday, and Up the River.

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