Steps – this exquisite girl, rising on her tiny toes…

will rise again on tiny toes
rising on her tiny toes

Steps

our son called this morning

to let us know she’s okay

that it was only a passing fever

a bit of a rash, the hours in the ER

notwithstanding

we kept our cool throughout

my wife and I – seasoned baby vets

unflappable

despite the fact

that the medical folks don’t know a thing

just that the fever has finally

broken

so soon

this exquisite girl

will rise again on tiny toes

and resume her accelerating steps

into tomorrow

while we

will resume our shuffling steps

toward our destined places

at last

as vaguely comic characters

from her dimly remembered

past

© 2021 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

one sunday morning

my granddaughter

is not permitted to get sick

I forbid it. her smile

is too crooked and too beautiful

to rest in a fevered face

she’s highly likely, of course

to be just fine

in a day or two, a random

pediatric bug. of course

she will be fine.

so I’ll look to care for my old dog

who isn’t eating this morning

“off his feed”  they say

as happens to us oldsters

every now and again

so I’ll boil up some rice

mix in a little chicken stock

and give us each a bowl.

we can eat together

ever so carefully

in silence

while we wait for the phone to ring.

a brilliant day

 

V8.4984

 

a brilliant day

mountains, flowers, lakes

 

then a red truck pulls out blind

 

no time for thought,

tires screaming on hot blacktop,

the car sliding, too fast, too fast,

no room

 

a white face in the window

a man turning, surprised

 

we bear down, burning fifty

to zero in thirty feet and somehow

we slide right,

rock to a stop

just

short

 

the whole thing flashes faster than thought

 

the face glares at me,

slams his truck across traffic

and disappears

 

we look at each other

seemingly fine

no harm, no foul?

 

driving home, my right arm

shakes like current

sizzling in a frayed wire

 

in the dark garage

I close my eyes,

the hot engine ticking down in silence

 

 

our lives continue

 

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

pray for rain

drivingtoWhales.iphone-2

 

pray for rain

 

we had no rain

 

for the month of May, weeks on end

of the warming winds of spring

drying the trees, the grasses, the earth

into tinder just waiting for a spark

 

these mountains

rounded by time, looming

over the cities, each one burning

scattered across the darkened land

like dying stars

 

the poets are overmatched –

so many viruses sweeping the world

 

at once

 

the breadth and scale of human stupidity

cruelty, burning and burning

 

we look to the eyes of the children

and see the depth of our failures

all of our fine words turning to ash

on our tongues – how

will it ever end?

 

listen deeply

 

beg forgiveness

 

lift a shovel

 

pray for rain

 

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

it means we made promises

I embraced her as we left the church forty years ago today, and she has not released my heart ever since…

edit wedding.5309

 

it means we made promises

 

it means we made promises

on the last day of may

both still clean still possible.

 

it means we made plans and babies

and sent them both

to bang against the world.

 

it means we learned to cut

and leave no trace

no blood trail for evidence.

 

it means we gave up on wonderful

and wove a nest

out of ordinary.

 

it means we rattle now toward evening

in our dark compartment

as the engine enters the tunnel’s mouth.

 

it means I can still catch your breath

between my fingers.

 

it means you

can still close my eyes with your lips.

 

it means the fire burns

until the last dry wood is gone.

 

 

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

such a fool

 

after all these years, you’d think I might have learned a thing or two…

 

ball

 

such a fool

 

what becomes of our memories

when we die? do they simply vanish

with the last flickering spark?

 

so many years of careful assembly

and rearrangement – why would the gods

invest so much in something so frail?

 

maybe instead we pass a kind of key

to those we leave behind

so that as long as they remember us,

 

our life’s collection

of learning and stories, heartbreak and joy,

remains connected, alive, flowing

 

in waves of what we call wisdom,

what we call beauty, accessible to any and all

with a beating human heart.

 

as I wander, hands in my pockets,

I absently jingle my enormous ring of keys,

and across the heavens the ancestors

 

and all of those who went before me,

rejoice at this music, beginning to dance and sing

at the warm pleasure of still being known.

 

then one by one, they look down at me

and start to laugh, shaking their celestial heads

in wonder, that despite a lifetime afloat

 

in this ancestral sea of wisdom

I insist on remaining

a complete and utter fool.

 

 

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

rising

Jafamfjaf

 

rising

 

either there are no angels

or we are all of us angels, rising

by degree. when I left you,

 

you were supported by pillows

billowing like clouds. now,

sitting on the plane

 

watching rain glaze the runway,

I wonder if you’re awake, your eyes

searching for familiar faces

you can no longer see; I wonder

 

if I will ever see you again.

 

gathering speed, we begin to climb,

both of us passengers, rising

alone, separately, together,

 

rising

on differently feathered wings,

rising

into radically different heavens.

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

 

that i would do better

mrfhschool

hand colored high school photo, circa 1933-34.

Margaret Ruth  (Draper) Fink, 1917-2004

 

 

that I would do better

 

how much of my life

would I look to retrace?

not the thousand small decisions

that built to a course

I may have mistaken for true,

nor the loves and the lost loves

and shouldn’t have loved’s,

 

but you whose ears

have now passed beyond hearing,

who made the milk that fed me –

 

that I would do better.

 

if you could only come here and die again,

 

here, where this time I would hold you

as you once held me,

here, where we’d cry over parting

and joy at the end of pain.

here, where I would hold your gaze

as the light sifts from your lovely eyes,

 

and then close your brown eyes

with kisses.

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com