When we were 17

I’m beginning to fear the absence of feeling

Because we had it all right, when we were

seventeen years old, we would love so hard

let our hearts be pierced, like our lips and nose,

our love poems,

in all different types of prose,

the symbology of a simple cut out heart

from leftover fabric of a school project,

we’d carry around, as if it were a part of us,

but chided and disregarded,

“how could you possibly know love,

you all just started,

you’re like puppies playing,

pretending you feel,

but I’m older and wiser and

you should know it’s not real,

just wait ‘till you’re both older,

and then you will know,

you’ll look back on this,

and thank me for telling you so.”

But now that I’m older, twenty nine now,

the farther away this concept blooms,

exists in the past,

love is a construct, a word for ignited delusions,

that seethe and seep deep

as a life intrusion,

I’ve felt absolutely nothing for a long time

I sit in my room and I wish I could cry,

something, anything,

I just want to feel,

I pine for the days,

When I believed it was real.

Young people on old roads

Alix wipes her tears with the tea towel,

The one that’s seen better years. It was

Gifted as a Christmas present by the in-laws

And their ten-year anniversary had come and gone.


“Yea can’t stop workin’ just cuz someone dies yea know.”

Tough hands furiously dry the kitchy plates with

Ornate swirls etched around the edge. Lipstick

Shades mute when pressed together, a salty taste really is sour.

The view out the kitchen window offered needed comfort.


A pick up sputs across pot-hole dust roads, it grunts

Heavily as it works to keep up with demand, a foot on the pedal,

Like whips on the back of a Clydesdale, whose days in retired

Green pasture, were never to transpire.


John – a simple man- grips the wheel.

“When it’s intangible, people don’t understand it.

We say cousin Elsa died of a broken heart, because

It’s how we explain a sickness we can’t see, son.”


A well-read,

A well-spoken,

A well-beyond-his-vocation….


John came back from Princeton in the fall of ’79,

Left the middle of the third semester, back to

West Virginia in the colors of fall, it was not

Complete disenchantment to take over the farm after

Father passed. “Open fields and an open heart” he’d always say.


“Son, I want you to know some of the sickest people

have to work everyday, until they don’t.”


His son focused hard on the time on the dash,




“If your eyes stare long enough, the tears seem

to absorb back inside,” he thought as he swallowed

and didn’t dare take a breath.




‘Yea understand me?’ John pleaded, his voice wavering.


Nothing scares the shit out of you more than your father about to cry.




A spoken reply would have meant a certain detonation of tears,

It was the button to this time-bomb, to which explosion was his greatest fear.


Drones of wind past the pick up were the only breaths taken

Through each sunken pot-hole, their faces braver for town.