Where the Ducks Swim (Written December 8, 2017)

Where the Ducks Swim

The menace of a dark snow cloud
made her turn back from her walk,
and in her confusion she worried
that she might already be lost.

An hour ago, when she left the house,
the sky was clear, the wind calm,
the temperature barely below freezing.
She kept to the main trail, on the look-out
for the pond where the ducks swim

And the moose come to drink in the fall
before it freezes over. For too long
she’d been confined to the house,
unable to get out, until it had become
a sort of prison, though with a jailkeeper,

She had to admit, who was much kinder
and more attentive than she deserved.
All she wanted, she said, was to get
a breath of fresh air, and so one day,
while the jailkeeper was working

In the backyard, she put on her coat,
opened the door, and walked out.
I have to get moving, she told herself,
or I’ll die of stasis, whatever that means.
In the house she didn’t have much to do.

Read novels. Watch television. Sleep.
She had no energy to do anything creative,
or even cook. But the more she sat around,
or slept, the weaker she felt. Her legs
sometimes gave out, coming down

The stairs, and she had to hold on tight
to the railing to keep from falling.
A fall like that would be the end of her,
or the beginning of the end. No,
the end had already begun.

She wasn’t dressed for bad weather,
she had left the house in such a hurry.
Now that it had turned nasty, however,
with the wind kicking up, and the snow
beginning to fall, fat, wet flakes of snow,

That smacked her in the face like
imitation confetti, she was sorry
she hadn’t grabbed a pair of gloves
and some sort of hat on the way out.

Cloud of Forgetting (Written December 1, 2017)

Cloud of Forgetting

I kneel by the sofa where she lies,
one hand on her ankle,
the other on her knee.
She’s quiet now, breathing

More easily, trying to forget
the angry words she shouted at me,
when it was not even me
she was angry with, but
someone else, an old friend,

Who had gone off script,
thoughtlessly, and said things
that she found hurtful.
I could have intervened,
but I didn’t see what was happening

Until too late. Besides, it’s not my part
to protect her every step of the way.
That would be asking too much.
If that seems heartless, I really
don’t know what to say.

Let me pull the blanket up,
around her shoulders, and stay
a while longer, as she drifts away
on her cloud of forgetting.
Without forgetting, there is no

Deliverance. But I am, I suppose,
the enemy of forgetting, someone
who, almost against his will, remembers
what she so desperately wants to forget.