Our desktop, age 12, expired quietly
Last night, after a long illness,
Surrounded by loved ones.
In its declining years
It was still able, slowly and with
Great difficulty, to find
The best price on gas,
The route to Nova Scotia.
But twelve is pretty old, even in doggy years,
So when we saw the dire language
On the blue screen,
We despaired of heroic cures
And entrusted it to the Cyberhospice
Who thought they could save
My e-mail list, some files;
Other things gone,
Like certain memories, irretrievable.
I used the library’s computer today—
New operating system—
And saw a list of files
Not meant for my eyes:
Draft for Mom’s obituary.
If our new computer should last twelve years…
Better not to speculate.
I do hope they’ll return the
Old hard drive.
I plan to keep it
In an urn
On the mantle.
editors note: Alas, this digital demise. RIP. DOS, DVR, RAM... LOL. (We welcome Robert to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) - mh clay
The mainline downtown parishes
Think it undignified
But you see along the road to Durham
Small churches with signs out front,
Some electronic these days
But most where you put up letters
One at a time
Like a 1940s theater marquee.
You wonder about the sources,
Magazines, newsletters, I guess,
The internet these days,
(God will accept broken hearts
But he must have all the pieces
Or Gossip is the Devil’s radio—
R U his DJ?)
Or to announce the next revival.
I noticed one near Mebane,
Just after New Year’s:
Pray hard for Lucas, it said.
But then they took it down.
editors note: What would your sign say? For whom do you pray? - mh clay
If you can arrange for adolescence
To coincide with your mother’s change of life,
That will yield a certain result.
Further, if you can arrange to be
An only child, that will heighten the effect.
I’m fairly sure she did not mean things
Exactly the way they sounded:
Well, he talks a good game
To my counselor, depositing me at sports camp;
Who calls that music
Of my Stan Getz LP.
Late in life, she complained about a concert
At the nursing home we’d found:
They were terrible, she said,
And I was in it.
Love is more complicated than you think.
Once or twice we smuggled in a little bourbon,
And she’d smile and click the ice cubes in her glass,
As she had done on Daisy Sanders’ porch
On Rust Pond in June of ’64,
And we would joke about
Those days, those bittersweet
Days of home.
editors note: Young look forward and old look back; somewhere to meet in now. - mh clay