You’re Still Teaching Me

Poetry
1999

When I was younger, 
I would think
I don’t learn neat things from you 
like my friends from their dads.
 
I didn’t learn to hunt, ride a snowmobile, or fix a car.
 
I wondered how you knew about fixing things around the house.
How was I going to remember it all?
Why didn’t you know how to fix a car, or hunt?
How I wished you did.
 
Years later,
I don’t like to hunt, ride snowmobiles or fix up cars.
I like to build porches,
talk about landscaping,
how to unclog pipes.

You let me to learn from my mistakes,
to find my way,
offering guidance
even when I didn’t listen
(I learned my stubbornness from you too).
 
2021
 
I have two boys of my own. 
You’d be eighty-one this year, 
but you’ve been gone for nine.

I miss talking to you.
 
But you’re still teaching me.
 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Interchange

Poetry
 One: Inbound
 
Waiting for the 10:30 train 
on a tiled alcove bench
a sticky puddle below my feet
 
A Budweiser can in a brown bag
discarded in the corner
presumably in resentment for being empty
 
Words within the bricked floor
trampled by millions 
seen by few
 
Inbound
 
Gripping the pole
shoulder to shoulder
swaying gently
the clack and clatter 
the murmur of voices
 
A child in a silver moon coat
learning the stops
preoccupied by curiosity 
 
Two: After Library Square
 
The child stares past
the last row of magazines
at the people sitting in far corners
 
A man in a blue poncho 
naps in front of the gas fireplace
his bundle of possessions beside him 
on the floor
 
A man in a supple leather chair
reads a book, more books
stacked at his feet
his shoulders tense
 
A man with matted hair and beard
catches her eye and smiles
as the child’s mother hurries her away
 

 
 

Beacon

Poetry
 Clouds hang among the mountain tops
 Desperate to quell this need
 I have lost track of the days
 
The aspens glow golden 
in the morning light
 
I long for them to be a beacon  

Milk Run

Poetry
 
 Ejected from sleep  
 by the klaxon alarm
 I tumble out of bed
 fumble with layers of clothes
 
 slumping against the counter
 willing the coffee to brew faster
 
Clamber out the door
 
We ride in silence 
into the approaching dawn
nursing steaming mugs
driving a little faster
to make the milk run
 
The chalet is bright and full of noise
we stuff feet into plastic boots
file outside 
 
Stand in the biting cold
our breath clinging to red coats
impatiently kicking at the snow
waiting for the lift to turn
 
Rising with the sun
as it reaches out to touch 
the walls of the notch and Mansfield’s nose beyond
 
First tracks 
a moment of silence 
before the mountain opens