root beer bubbles in my nostrils
make me cry
because I’m most likely with family
or loved ones on the shore
of Lake Superior after
an afternoon of sunburn
into the heat of early cook-fires
and charred sausages
It’s running with bulls,
stampeding, semis running
over the raucous rumble-strip
with a sucker-punctured rear
tire. Parked like sardines in
a writhing school, brakes
clamoring for relief, bands
knotted together on CB
radio, sea of grass around them.
Each dash of the lane-lines like a tooth
on a grinding table saw, sprinting
along and splitting the rippled
concrete like a bowsprit,
splintering the waves of
Pastor preached on pontification
or rather how not to do that
which won’t be found welcoming.
Others look across the sidewalk
cracks, split between family,
work lost, life’s work not yet
ceased, or begun.
Pastor disavowed pontification
or rather why those might
see it thus-becoming.
Be simple, I thought, smile
as that man did to me.
The flash of teeth and recognition
of mutual struggle—familiarity.
Pastor preached pontification
in his sermon, pulpit-driven
beat drumming palms in rhythm with his voice.
The smile faded but his eyes
stayed on me as he strode next
to me, umbrella share, fanned above
the diminished strand between he and I.
Pastor stated—I didn’t want to—
pontificate. Sinai spoke, commanding,
motioned towards the one beside me.
But he had left, umbrella in my hand,
his bus removed. I smiled to a woman
beyond the sidewalk, cracked her teeth
open as I offered a half of his umbrella.
Pastor asked ‘Who are we reaching?’
outside pontification. I didn’t know
The rain fell beyond the umbrella.
We just talked, simply, and
she thanked me. I didn’t need
a whole umbrella.
Pastor preached on kindness—why
pontificate? He could share a story
of a bus-stop in the rain.
I like to think that first pen or stylus in Mesopotamia
was used to send something sweet to a lover far away.
A clay tablet left upon the doorstep of a restless woman
awaiting his return. Or, perhaps a dream inscribed on papyrus
about the songs she’d whisper when he arrives, tucked
into his belt – not less important than his sword,
closer to his heart than his shield.
I hope the realization of a need for transcription arose
from a knowledge that flowers would not last
the journey home. A thistle, wilted in the hands
of a kilted warlord, reduced mostly to nothing
once he reached his fair maiden.
Words can’t wilt, however, and, while mysterious
to the unintended reader, can hold so much more
for those addressed. They mark the voice of a distant
love, the mannerisms and inflection of speech
upon lips easily imagined. Or, at least I like to think