David Magill

The Calamity of Lament

Light blue flowers are scattered
along the base of the hill.
I can’t name them but I know I have seen them before.
The ridge above me is lined with maples
and the sunlight bends through their leaves,
casting the day’s last light on the grass below.
I close my eyes
and see the death of my father
through the fog of a future wish.
Raccoons feed on his body
near the banks of a lake that was once three rivers.
It is not grotesque or unnerving.

If I knew
if I opened my eyes and knew
I would walk up the driveway
and into the trailer to stand in front of him.
“Your luck has run out.” I would say.
He would be in his bed,
the sheet pulled
all the way past his head.
He would turn his head toward me
from under the sheet
making me flinch.
I would turn and walk
out of the trailer, back down the driveway
to the road below.
The raccoons would be gone,
only bones under a thin moon.
I would feign a magnificent smile,
my teeth crumbling in my mouth.
I would look away and up,
understanding the sun.
It will burn holes in you if you let it.

There is no luck in this world.
Only God and His decisions
on cruelty or kindness.
I’m not sure what
He
has decided, yet.
We are all just waiting for
Him
to make up
His
mind.

This is what lives under the rot of memory.
The black moss on a wooden dock.
The calamity of lament.

Some People See Them

I broke a knuckle crossing my fingers,
waiting for my luck to suit up
and set the red carpet on fire.
Lucky turned into “Hey, I’m
alive.” and I buried all the tricks
and signs and checkered thoughts
right along with the gimmicks, somewhere
safe, where I would not be tempted to look.
Today I stumbled across them, in an X-ray
folder, Dr. Somebody
said there was nothing in them
but I saw them
taking a bow;
the rabbit’s foot
the clover with all four,
a cross, slightly bent
three magic beans
my grandfather’s photo
an unreadable poem
two shots of Bushmill’s finest
an old necklace
from a woman who squeezed my heart flat and flung it skyward
a black Bible
a brown snarl of hair
from a white horse
and a crystal ball
held
with praying hands
that were creased from neglect
and bathed
in
light.
I will not claim them.
They have served a higher
purpose.

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