Jan/Feb 2019 Poetry

The Calm

by Tim Hawkins

Image salvaged from public domain

The Calm

We used to wonder at the old ones
and their steadfast refusal to pay us any mind,
at their reluctance to laugh at our antics
and acknowledge our unique take on things.

Laughter for us was a spiraling out of control,
a momentous shift in the Earth's gravitational pull,
an invitation to rip off our clothes and run wildly
through the rain.
While for them it was like a surprising concession
to put on a sweater, more of a slight change
in the weather than a storm.

And it wasn't just that way with laughter;
Everything for us was a spiraling out of control:
The first idea, the first desire, the first loss,
the first knowledge of the inevitable
sadness of things.

Now I think I'm beginning to understand
why they walked so slowly from the mailbox
with letters and cards and the sun in their arms,
why they seemed to be searching
for someone lost
deep inside the mirror,
and why they enjoyed the soft clatter
of washing dishes together, and talking
in the glow of the setting sun.

I am unable to forget
how they disappeared quietly,
though their occasional words
inhabit the wisteria, the porch swing
and the railing.

And now I know why
on Sunday evenings I drive for miles
through the twilight,
searching for their faces
and listening for their words
and soft laughter
on the front porches
of every small town


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