Fishing With Annie
Girls can't fish properly, you know.
That's a crock, and you know it. Who says so?
Tommy. He says girls don't like worms.
You can tell Tommy
that Annie likes
a whole lot more than she likes
In our frantic dash through life,
next day delivery,
Thank God for
slow summer days
that entice sweet corn seed seven feet toward heaven,
lingering kisses in the night,
the nine loving months that mother and child
More than a rainy day
game in waterlogged
Monopoly taught us that some
properties were more
valuable than others;
that hotels cost more
but created income;
that landlords were
always to be paid;
that money could
but easily spent;
and to be avoided;
that addition and subtraction
could be managed
in the head;
and most important of all,
that success in life might
depend on the roll of dice.
Had I but kept
in junior high school
and taken the
Intro To Kissing
instead of Algebra I
(as the system insisted),
and then, a year later,
(when summer ended),
in my sophomore season,
opted for the
(as the hormones demanded)
in place of Geometry 1
I certainly would have
notched a better G.P.A.
perhaps gained greater
status with the girls.
Ready Or Not
Despite a thousand warnings
from people who make it their
business to know,
no matter the season--
is worse than
Gramma can ever remember,
(God bless her gentle heart)
has no business except to
remember her childhood,
a pleasant time when children
played simple games like
hide and seek.
Her eyes, closed tightly against
the bark of a shade tree in the
front yard, she counted slowly--
". . . 98, 99, 100. Here I come,
ready or not!"--
so that others, forewarned,
hiding amid silent giggles--
until, muscles taut, ready for
the race back to the maple--
erupt like cheetahs
from behind the
Narrow are the
Slender are the
Meagre is our
Precarious is the
Paltry is our
And Solid are the
But Wide as the Mississippi is our
Can you see a narrow path, just wide enough for one
where two men chanced upon each other a long time ago?
In the morning glory, witnessed by a wary sun—
did they stop and stare, and wonder, friend or foe?
Can you hear the roaring silence of unbridled fear,
louder than the wails of most destructive storm?
When men came face-to-face, blood pounding in the ear—
eyes wild for escape, sensing death’s true form?
Can you feel the breath of danger cold upon your face,
and hair upon your neck bristling to attention?
Were two molded statues, crafted from God’s race—
rooted as the oak or maple, actions still undone?
Can you see the younger of the two, stalwart as could be,
his empty palms extended, no killing blade secret there?
Was hatred harbored in his heart, more difficult to see—
or reflected in his eyes as youthful courage rare?
Can you hear the other man, older yes, tall and lean,
notch mute arrow and string his deadly bow?
Was language infant then, the world still raw and mean—
that no words passed between them, oh so long ago?
Can you feel a seething warmth lick across your skin,
a glistening swath where death simmers hot and near?
Were words so few that mere actions cradled sin—
and in your throat you stifle the choking grip of fear?
Can you see a selfish path where brave men often kill,
and must in desperate haste decide another’s fate?
Do you see a fiery blacksmith’s forge, hearts upon the anvil—
shaping threatened lives, facing heaven’s yawning gate?
Can you feel survival's strain, amid death’s insistent call,
when the one with most to lose, smiled and stepped aside?
Can you feel the forest’s breath release a sigh for all—
where two men chose civility over instinct to abide?
Can you see a narrow path where many came to walk,
and a pleasant widening grew, and many pause to talk?
Where empty hands were grasped to show no harm was meant—
and where a wordless truce between two men was heaven sent?