G. Louis Heath – 4 poems 

The World Turned Upside Down

 

 

The sky and the earth traded places today.

Earth creatures whose feet gravitated to the

 

ground now breeze over shape-shifting

cotton patches. House morphs into horse

 

and horse gallops into mountains. These are

the New World. This upside-down reality

 

imposes Brobdingnagian challenges on little

cloud walkers. Scale and 3-D depth go awry.

 

Eyes must adjust. Little bodies are learning to

walk again on wispy feet shy of the blue sky.

 

 


🍃

 

 

All In The Family

 

 

 

His brother had been soft as pulpy leaves in autumn,

not soft and strong as parachute silk like Mom. In his

 

brother was enough of the quicksilver indulgence of

his Dad to spoil him and enough gentleness of Mom

 

to soften him, but not enough of either to stay his wrought

hand from a gun. Dad refused to plant any shrubs around

 

houses they occupied. His itch to move on could strike any

time. Mom would never have a home where she could get

 

to know other Moms and their kids, follow them through

the grades into adult life. Yet, his aimlessness somehow  

 

made her what she wanted to be. As she grayed, the more she

flowered in herself. The older and wealthier he got, the more

 

the man of parts fell apart.  His bluster and con waned as her

true strength waxed. His friends fled him as her circle grew.

 

He sank lower, as she rose. Her death did not veil his days with

mourning. He resented her leaving. Quick as a new house, he fell

 

into the trap of a young siren he adorned in his wife’s best clothes.

A month after he died, his last son heard about it with vast relief.

 

 

 

🍃

 

 

Chthonic Senescence

 

 

 

Glaucoma clouded my vision during palliative

care. I made a bad decision, staring at my liver

 

spots, my solipsistic stigmata of old age. I was

deluded, of weak faith. My mind, beset by dying

 

neurons, made me think myself a would-be saint,

a regular, good old boy Saint Francis, preaching

 

to the birds and staying the fangs of Gubbio’s wolf.

My body, my poor body, finds its way in shadows 

 

with no view to see the peaks from this valley. My

electric wheelchair climbs the access runway as 

 

I work the joy stick above the angry lake of fire.

 

 

 

 🍃

 

 

Sunday Wash

 

 

My wash churned in suds cycle as she pushed a

laundry cart in. Sunday, 6 a.m. and society was

not around with its cleaner, 11 a.m. liturgical cycle.

 

I had seen her around, recently moved in on the

second floor. First sighting at this wash hole though.

Twig-thin, somber, her eyes hollow and stark for one

 

so young. She had a presence I felt strongly. We talked

as she stuffed a machine with her feminine stuff that

seemed to cycle more smoothly on her quarters than my

 

masculine stuff did on my quarters. (The ear can hear

sounds based on gender stereotypes, I had read.) Annoyed

I was there at 6, she was used to her choice of machines.

 

Her voice and the way she moved (also her under-things)

did not belong to a woman up for church I said. (We

sociologists like to interview.) She smiled thinly. She

 

needed to wash before her 8 a.m. Alcoholics Anonymous

meeting, a weekly washday where candor and tears cycle

guilt and redemption. I said, not in a superior way, I did not

 

drink. She wished she did not love drink so much, but now

she could hold down a job at the box factory. I could not

feel her pain. I am not privy to addiction. I do not even

 

imbibe that demon drink coffee. This I said. I knew the wash

was over then. But it wasn’t. She looked at me in a way that

connected our eyes in sync to the sturdy rhythms of the wash.

 

This has been going on for some time now as we try to cleanse

our souls in a baptism paid for by quarters from the local bank.

In these spinning pools lurk secret depths on Sunday mornings.

 

 

 

 🍃

 

 


     Bio: G. Louis Heath, Ph.D., Berkeley, 1969, is Emeritus Professor, Ashford University. Clinton, Iowa. He enjoys reading his poems at open mics. He often hikes along the Mississippi River, stopping to work on a poem he pulls from his back pocket, weather permitting. His books include Leaves Of Maple, Long Dark River Casino, andRedbird Prof: Poems Of A Normal U, 1969-1981. He has published poems in a wide array of journals. He can be contacted at gheathorov@gmail.com

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