Charley on My Harley
The nightmare woke my father every night
for years. He had no idea what it meant
and so he wrote the story down and hoped
some day he'd understand it.
He lost the note that night but
found it decades later in a drawer
next to the glass eye he popped out
the stormy night that Mother left.
Mom came back to "make their marriage work"
after she'd been gone for 20 years
but Father told her they had been divorced
for at least 10 years. Despite her tears,
Father told her, "Maude, after all this time,
let's agree that you were gone before you left
so let me tell you all about the nightmare
I've had every night since you rode off
with Charley on my Harley. I wrote the story down
to tell the kids but they grew up and left
before I had a chance to ask if they knew
what the nightmare meant.
Maybe you can help me understand it, Maude.
The note says this: 'What purpose does a rabbit have
other than as prey? What difference does
a rainbow make in a rabbit’s day?'
Now you say you love me, Maude,
but the kids are grown and gone
so take my Harley and go find Charley.
It's time I put my eye back in."
A Walmart Way of Life
Opal the widow next door
shouts to Hilda over the fence
as they hang out their wash
on a sunny morning that
Walmart's having a big sale
on toilet paper and she's
stocked up now for the year
unless she gets diarrhea.
Then Hilda tells Opal she
would stock up on that too
but her doctor has told her
she could live for many years
so she has to save in case
she ever needs a cat scan.
Opal says not to worry since
she will give Hilda the ad
the next time Walmart
runs a sale on pet stuff.
A Matter of Business
Every day at noon
when church bells peal
Rufus stops counting his money
gets up from his roll-top desk
lights a Cuban cigar
pours a glass of fine wine
and looks out his garret window
hoping to see Martha
his neighbor dead in the snow
dropped by a heart attack
or maybe black ice.
Either will do.
Too old to shovel the walk
she can’t afford to have it done.
Rufus never thought Martha
would live this long.
When she finally dies
the property reverts to him
the result of a deal he cut
with her dead husband Mort
years ago when the couple
needed his money and Rufus
figured they’d die in no time.
Mort was quick to cooperate
but Martha has been a turtle.
Twice now Rufus has lost
good buyers for the place
rehabbers think is worth fixing.
Rufus doesn’t agree
but he’ll sell the place in seconds
to anyone who offers the money.
For now, when church bells peal
Rufus lights a cigar, drinks wine,
looks out the window and thinks,
Hurry up Martha and die.
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.