Saturday, January 24, 2015

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

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.

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