Sunday, October 11, 2015

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

A Matter of Perspective

Feeding feral cats at dawn
is easier when the cats are calm.
This can happen when the 
mix of cats remains the same 
but a new cat can create
commotion for a sleepy man.

But feeding cats is easier 
for a man with grown children 
who have moved around the nation 
and communicate by Skype  
and bicker as they did when 
the four of them were 
a year apart in school.

Today the problem isn’t 
who’s the better athlete or
gets the highest grades 
or will become a millionaire.
Today the problem is the one 
terminal with cancer.

Mushroom Hunting 

You can learn a lot 
mushroom hunting 
with a gnome.

The gnome I hunt 
with always has 
a lot to say. 

On this hunt he says 
life is what we do 
until we die.

Then we find out
if we did it well.
Takes about a minute.

If we did it well
it’s blue sky and
we soar with angels

and if we failed
we’re marshmallows
turning slowly

over an open fire.
Takes forever.
We never melt.

Cart Boy

This megastore is a paradise of food.
It’s open all night, its parking lot lit 
like a stadium in Texas on a football 
Friday night but now at midnight 
the lot is almost free of cars but 
shopping carts are everywhere 
like sheep waiting for a shepherd 

who arrives at dawn, a young man
in a store jacket and store cap, 
white shirt, store logo on his tie.
His badge says “Darius 3 Years."
He begins to gather his carts 
in a long train to push them, 
as the caboose, back to the store. 
His energy surpasses any clerk 
I’ve seen work inside at any hour.

Soon more customers arrive 
and more carts are rolling around
and Cart Boy, as Darius is called 
by coworkers, doesn't stop 
going after them until a staffer 
taps him on the arm for lunch.

One day I see the manager
in the lot watching Darius 
with admiration and I ask him 
why he doesn’t train him for
stocking shelves or cutting meat. 
The manager offers a wan smile 
and gives me another lesson in life. 
“Darius,” he says, “is Special Needs.”

Donal Mahoney wrote “Cart Boy” shortly after talking with the store manager in the parking lot of the megastore. Darius is not his real name.

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