Orchard Days (Transient Youth)

I recall the orchard days
The youthful fruit
Juices flowing
Now the bark
is noticeably gnarled
bathed in the melancholy
gold of mid-Autumn and
the breeze
once blunt and hot has
been burnished to a
clean edge by the brush
of long summer days
and it clips away what
the tree no longer needs
scattering leaves
and years

A Tale of Water

I was afraid of it then
The water
I would jump in the
shallow end of the pool
standing straight up
as if on a pogo stick
My feet planting on the
bottom while my head
stayed above
until once it didn’t
My feet shooting from under me
trying to grab air with my hands
certain I would drown until my
mother pulled me up
The Navy later cured me
of my reticence
and now I fear it anew
Not for the lack of air
but for the memories there
waiting in the deep

Tennessee and Me

It was a cheap motel
Best Western maybe
My folks liked those
We were down in
Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Their go-to vacation
destination through the
mid-seventies and the room
had a balcony overlooking
nothing that I can recall
I can still see dad sitting
out there smoking
In shorts
An item of clothing he abhorred
and never wore at home
It was like a Bigfoot sighting
He was briefly some mythical beast
but my fondest memories revolve
around eating
Breakfast specifically
Pancakes and syrup and sausage
and milk every morning
Living the dream
There was also a store
in town that had knives
and swords and oh how I
wanted a sword! In the end
a few cheesy trinkets from
Cherokee was the best this
budding Lancelot would get
And
there were bears
wandering
along the road through
the Smokies that I wanted
to get out and talk to but
wasn’t allowed
I’ll grant the wisdom in that
now
I didn’t see it then
Was sure we could be friends
Found some dinosaurs, too
A Dinosaur Land in fact
My cousin and I in
Polaroid shots buddied up
with a Triceratops

So long ago

A few years back I saw
that fires ravaged the town
Much of the place reduced
to smoldering embers

Like my memories