Odd and Strange
The day Paul got married,
his old girlfriend called his house
just before he and his bride Anne
caught the plane for their honeymoon.
Paul was outside packing the car
and Anne answered the phone.
His old girlfriend was angry because
Paul had married somebody else so she
told Anne strange things Paul liked to do,
strange things Anne had never heard of,
stuff that didn’t sound like Paul at all,
but Anne said nothing about the call
and they flew off to a nice honeymoon,
diving off cliffs and swimming in the sea,
seeing rare birds and tropical flowers,
eating native foods Anne hadn't heard of.
Years later, they went back to Oahu
for their 40th anniversary, and Anne
told Paul about the call but didn’t say
anything about what the girl had said
although she remembered every word.
They were sipping drinks at a cafe
when Paul admitted he remembered
the girl because she would ask him to do
things he thought odd and strange.
He was open-minded but there’s a limit.
Anne said she understood because after
40 years with Paul, she now liked to do
things she thought odd and strange when
she left the Amish for something new.
The POTUS and Sandy Hook
When the president
speaks from the podium
and mentions the 20 children
shot to death at Sandy Hook
by a lunatic with a rifle,
he often wipes away a tear
and who can blame him?
But he doesn’t shed a tear
when he speaks about
and the thousands of children
mothers leave behind there.
Trash Cans at the Manion House
When I was in grammar school
I knew it was Wednesday
when I looked out the window
and saw across the street
three trash cans at the curb
in front of the Manion house.
No matter how early I got up
the three cans would be there
looking like a trio waiting
to break into song.
When I’d get home from school,
the cans would be gone.
They had been put away,
I figured, until their next gig
the following Wednesday.
When I was in high school,
I noticed one day only two
cans standing at the curb.
I was told the son had married
and moved to another city
and his parents missed him.
But two cans were enough
to tell me it was Wednesday.
When I came home from college,
I noticed my first week back only
one can was stationed at the curb.
My mother told me at breakfast
Mr. Manion had died and
Mrs. Manion wasn’t doing well.
For the years I was in college
that solitary can was always
in front of the house.
It was still there when I
graduated, found a job,
married and moved away.
My wife and I would visit my folks,
and one Sunday after dinner
my father asked me to give him
a lift to the doctor on Wednesday.
When I pulled up in the car
I noticed no can was waiting
in front of the house.
My mother told me Mrs. Manion
had died and the house was for sale
at a good price in case my wife
and I might be interested.
She said it would be a good place
to raise kids if we ever had any.
My father usually said little
but coughed and agreed.
They seemed happy because
I hadn’t said no to the idea.
I knew they would like us
to live across the street but
I wanted to talk with my wife.
But my parents stared at me
when I asked if they could find out
if the trash cans were included
in the price of the house.
I’d need them on Wednesdays.
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.