Chase the Squirrel, the Acorn
The last time I held my father’s hand,
I was seven years old.
Standing over the grave of a grandfather
who was now reduced to continuous headstone.
He came to me once in my dreams,
I knew it was him even though it could
have been anyone leading me up those winding
stairs knowing I could never keep up.
I don’t remember my mother.
Like someone robbing a bank and forgetting
about the money.
That only child way
my younger siblings were counted
among my collectibles.
Chase the squirrel, the acorn.
That sublime idiot laugh of the clunky dander child.
How my father replaced the graveside flowers
and told me not to forget,
but the mind is a fickle pickle.
This long comfortable shag between my toes.
Sparklers for arms so we can all be fireflies
on special occasions.
Flowers on my shorts, I must be in bloom
Flowers on my shorts, I must be in bloom,
many blue flowers like some strange lost kindness
reaching out from twisted elbows,
that light purple watering can showerhead sprinkle,
a light dampening like the Spring thaw carpet
dawdling underfoot, initials carved in a backyard tree
that decided to leave themselves behind,
that boxy buck-knife historical record which almost
always promises forever and never delivers
and my shorts, your bloomers
sepals, petals, carpel and stamen –
Death is a kind of completion, hopefully it is not
the only one, even if it is the most final.
In the back of a black town car
speeding through the piping hot
neon guts of nowhere.
All the bags in the trunk
like a body wanting out.
just before midnight.
The driver with a face full of deep pockmarks,
so that you look away and think of distant
minefields expecting damage.
Choke up a forgotten cloud of smoke
from the hairy underarm tropics.
Climb into a bed
that may as well be a coffin
at altitude after the elevator up.
Each beep a flighty cricket
sold on this sprawling urban song.
Nowhere left to look but the view.
Meant to sell, sale, sold…
Individual tiles in the shower
as though colouring book Communism
has a long way
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Bourgeon, TheSongIs.., Cultural Weekly, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.
Image by Norbert Schnitzler, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons