Saturday, September 7, 2013

Gene McCormick- Two Poems

Gone With The Flow

Halfway around the walking path of the
municipal park, Mount St. Mary’s,  a bench
facing the river offers respite from heat,
humidity, mosquitoes, skateboarders.
Birds play, flitting into a challenging breeze,
swooping to the river and then skyward,
beaks empty. Fish occasionally jump
and slap water as the Fox River flows southeast.
The bank on the other side is desolate—
no children, families or cars; only
a lone fisherman standing waist deep
in green rubber hip-waders, a plaid shirt
and once-red baseball cap, casting overhand
and sidearm for whatever might bite.

Distracted, a return look across the bank
finds the fisherman is nowhere to be seen.
No outcries, no thrashing about.
He has vanished, along with his gear.
Nothing telltale afloat.
The news the next day, the day after that and
the day after that as well, informs nothing
of a missing fisherman with green hip-waders,
a plaid shirt and once-red baseball hat.
It may have ended well, but if the river
got him he could be floating
through Indiana or Kentucky by now,
human flotsam mistaken
for a waterlogged tree trunk.
The thing about a river is that it
never transports to the beginning,
only to the end, where one-way
cargo is purged.


She puts the flat of her hand against his back,
gently rubs contours familiar
even through the shirt fabric.
She also feels his shoulders
hunch up and tense.
Don’t, he says, shrugging, that bothers me.
Her hand drops to her lap;
she stares at her fingers.
I’m going out for a while, he says,
and she says
Take your time.

Whoever would say she walks with a limp
would be mistaken.
Looking through the car’s windshield,
she is observed
walking across the strip mall parking lot
leading with her entire leg, barely bending it
as opposed to typical knee and ankle action.
Waves of heat waffle up from the asphalt
as she propels herself with an uneven gait,
not a limp, more of a jerky lope
reflecting a free-spirit attitude.
Where is she going, or coming from,
dressed as she is?—
and if a person were really making study
of such a walk they would note that it’s
best demonstrated in flat-soled shoes.
It is a good way to walk,
deflecting attention from the expression
on her face.

Brief Bio: Whoever started the spurious rumor that Gene McCormick was going to marry into the Kardashian family should be horsewhipped, though McCormick only says “No comment.”

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