Thursday, January 28, 2016

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

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

Planned Parenthood
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 
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.

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