Chalk Drawings in the Rain

Standing there alone, at the precipice of nightfall, the air turns cooler, daylight appearing a little dimmer and the shadows begin to fade away slowly. One moment his silhouette is beside him, it draws longer before simply dissipating in the pale, late afternoon ambient light, along with all the other shadows. It used to be so clear; his relationship with his kids, the expectations’, the experiences. But now they seem to be dissolving like a child’s chalk drawings in the rain.

It’s strange when you get older and your children do too, it’s not the same for you both. For one the days run by like a fast moving bus leaving one to yearn for what they may have missed and for the other they seem to draw on forever, full of opportunity, excitement for what may come, adventure and anticipation. For the parent there is a sense of loss, for the child freedom.

You knew it was coming, all the older folks say it’s so, that the time you have with them passes by so quickly and we take it for granted. That time passes by like a mid-winters day, and soon you’re wondering what happened, where did it all go, why do you feel as though they’ve forgotten you. You forget what it is like to be a teenager, cruising around with your pal’s, the freedom, no one looking over your shoulder.

Your daughter has a boyfriend, he gets more time than you now, she looks at him with that same lost essence in her eyes that she once had for you…when she was like five. It hurts, you feel betrayed, left behind, alone. They all grow older; your son leaps out the front door in his letterman jacket and the keys to his future, and his little tender hands not in yours, tugging you along. Finally the youngest glances back at you as she runs off to join her team mates on the field, it’s not fair you think, you used to throw her in the air and now her fellow ball players celebrate with her, they chant and cheer her on and they are louder than you and the sound of your voice diminishes as it gets carried away in the fall air.

Breakfast is lonely now; it feels unnecessary, like an old outdated custom. Like an old book you once loved to read over and over but it just seems like the words aren’t quite as bright as they used to be, the pages are more fragile and worn and the cover has seen its day in the sun, it eventually finds its way onto a shelf higher than the rest, it may be pulled out now and again but the air between its pages will grow stale and it’s binding dusty. Like all great books, once celebrated its now simply remembered.

You taught them, aimed them in the right direction, and gave them the tools they’ll rely on when they are all on their own. You are happy for them, and are yourself excited to see them flourish, grow and become adults. But somewhere along the way you forgot to prepare yourself, I suppose that’s what happens though, you love them, cherish them, teach them and watch them step away.

an ‘Ol Shabby Rockin’ Chair

On a particularly warm summer afternoon the old man, rocking in an ‘ol rickety, shabby chair looked down at his once strong and agile, but now aged wrist, where he once wore his favorite silver watch and said, in a tender, shaken ton, “where did the time go?”

Where is the mercy when we wake up one Sunday and realize that the days before us are less than those behind? When it suddenly feels as though we are out of time to see all of our dreams to fruition?

Where is the justice in knowing that the garden we tend, will continue to fruit long after we have gone?

As he sees his children grow up seemingly so fast, he quietly begs for more time, he promises to give back all those sunsets and days wandering along the river just to sit here in his chair and watch his children smile a little while longer.

These days the sun rises and sets so fast that he often feels as though he’s slept through the summer, How he misses running through the sprinkler, crawling along the muddy river catching frogs, laughing at the incidental innocence of his children at play, in sock feet and leaping to catch candy from the raspberry queen as she passes on her blossom laden float.

He’s afraid the path before him is winding down and he’s getting tired. The light changes into dusty amber as the sun descends behind the trees. The forest before him grows thick and dark.

His children gather around him now and smile with pained faces, his grandchildren puzzled. His younger lover holds his hand and whispers how she loves him, but he can barely feel her soft touch any longer. And her voice begins to float away like an echo.

Somewhere far off in the distance he hears subtle voices, the warmth leaves his body now but he is not cold, and his mind slips away to another time and another place. And in his ear, he hears faintly, his favorite watch as it slows to a stop.

On a particularly warm, summer afternoon, an old woman rocks in an ‘ol shabby chair, caresses the worn down wooden arms and smiles to herself and says in a tired, shallow voice, “it won’t be long now darling”.

 

Black and White

The web drops its weight
behind the horizon of the clock.

Time and the numbers shimmer
in the pagoda of dreams.

Behind the screens,
the silver torches of memory and tasks
burn like crowns
won and lost.

Diamonds and all the words
fall sideways
and reshine
as stars.

The white garden moon
above reflects in each of our
deep black sea hearts
pulling our islands
our flowers
our pale flying gulls
out of our tides.

Copyright Kay Winter

1991

I waited 20 years to see her again.

She looked much the same, but

I could spot 20 years on her countenance,

in the way she moved,

carefully.

We’re not 18 and made out of rubber anymore,

she said.

I almost didn’t recognize you

with your clothes on, I said.

Oh, now that’s funny, she said, but

she didn’t laugh.

We sat on opposite sides

of a small, square table like

an interview,

like she was a job I wanted.

So why did you want to see me?

To make amends, I guess.

To apologize for

being who I was.

I let you down.

Then I’d lift you up.

Then I’d walk away and

come screaming back.

I’m sorry for that,

for all of that.

I was an asshole.

We were young, she said.

Lust and love and drugs and

don’t forget,

it was kind of epic sometimes.

I remember the lake, the beach,

the band, the school.

You were like James Dean to me,

if James Dean was an asshole and

wrote nice poems.

She looked at her phone.

I’ve got to go.

Okay, I said.

We embraced and yes

(wow),

her hair still smelled like 1991.

Copyright Tim D.