After

After the shock of the death,
After the preparations,
After the service,
After the scraping of chairs being
Put back in place,
After the casseroles have gone bad
And dumped in the garbage,
All the work begins,
All the grief work begins,
All the terrifyingly, agonizingly frightful
Work without the loved one begins.
After the loved one is gone, never to return,
Never to walk home
Down the street, toward
The house
The grievers are left in that house
All alone, all alone
Waiting for the loved one to come home.
Will there be any new adventures?
Only time will tell if the adventures will come.
In the mean time those who grieve
Will wait for the colors to retrieve
And for the time when it is time again
To believe,
Maybe, maybe, maybe
Again,
But it will never be the same belief
Ever again…
Ever again.

The Chocolate Lab’s Noontime Nap II

The adopted girl was six going on a puppy.
We couldn’t let her off leash for a moment
Because the girl off leash might be
Gone in a nanosecond, our new opponent.

We found exactly the right harness —
It fit just fine and kept her in line.
So we put it on with trepidation and stress
Wondering if she would be fine.

She did just fine, jogging right along
This path and that sniffing only slightly.
She stayed the course regardless how strong,
She could have pulled against us mightily.

Thirty minutes we were on that trail
And grateful to get back to the car.
We arrived safe at home without fail
Looking forward to a noon nap without a care.

But Of Course

In his dreams, whenever he
is in a dream, he has thick,
luscious, dark brown hair not
unlike the mane of the male
model son of actress Sofia
Vergara in the commercial
for Head and Shoulders
Shampoo. When he wakes,
he sits up and the first
thought that comes into his
head, the thought that he
utters confidentially but
quietly so as not to wake
his wife is, “Yul, yes,
but of course, Yul…or,
perhaps even…Bruce,
but most definitely Yul.”

Collective Amnesia

They are counting on the collective amnesia
of the American public, memory that lasts

about ten minutes. That is exactly what the
political predators are counting on in order

to get their way and then she flipped the
channel to the Public Television’s foreign

mysteries with subtitles and he gave a sigh
and his blood pressure dropped as he waited

for the team to discover the culprit and
bring him or her to justice, something on

which he reliably can count each evening,
something to which he looks forward because

it gives him a sense of security in this
increasingly uncertain world and the part-

icularly uncertain world of US politics which
veers frighteningly close to fascism and

other political systems of oppression. Thank
goodness for the Swedes, Danes, Norwegians,

Dutch, Germans and French for keeping his US
hide in stride not something he wishes to hide.

I Guess

I guess they have to say,
“It’s for the greater good,”
for them to stand before
the mirror and not
see the decay
like Dorian Gray.

I guess they have to fool
themselves into believing
it’s for the greater good
for them to stand before
the mirror and not
see the ghoul
creating a political
cesspool.

I guess they have to lie
themselves into believing
it’s for the greater good
for them to stand before
the mirror and not
see wise mortality
and one who will die
by and by.

I guess…I guess….

Birthing *

The eighty-five-year-old woman slumped
to the floor upon hearing about the sudden
death of her forty-nine-year-old daughter
and let out an involuntary, blood-curdling moan.

The twenty-year-old woman slumped
to the floor upon hearing about the sudden
death of her forty-nine-year-old mother
and let out an involuntary, blood-curdling moan.

The twenty-four-year-old man walked slowly
up the drive to the house where his forty-nine-
year-old mother lived before she died suddenly
and as he walked he let out an involuntary,
blood-curdling moan.

The forty-eight-year-old man lifted an angry fist
to the heavens and cursed God following the sudden
death of his forty-nine-year-old wife and he let
out an involuntary, blood-curdling moan.

The moans joined the moans of all those throughout
history who suffered tragedy in any and all ways —
slavery, war, pestilence.

The moans rose to the heavens to join the
moans of Father, Son, Spirit, Mother,
Daughter, Sophia, Creator, Redeemer,
Sustainer until there could be heard
nothing throughout the universe but
one, involuntary, blood-curdling moan —

and that one, involuntary, universal, blood-
cuddling moan birthed life.

*idea from a meditation by Richard Rohr

Life With Labs

While she is online, she looks for
the sponsored sites which feature
dogs in interesting situations.

He will hear her chuckling and
assumes she is at one of those
sites. He says, “What?” She says,

“Oh, it’s one of those sites with
interesting photos of dogs. Here
is one with a Great Dane sleeping

with his butt on the couch and his
head on an ottoman.” She hands
him the I-Pad and he hands it back.

Mostly, she hopes to see photos of
Labrador Retrievers (mostly the
chocolate variety because she is a

sucker for Chocolate Labs) and
she is never disappointed regardless
of the color because Labs (especially

puppy Labs) get themselves into
really interesting situations, like
tearing up roll after roll of toilet

paper and then sitting with ears
lowered and a totally penitent look
on his or her face. She laughs out

loud as she moves gleefully from one
photo to the next. She has had five
Chocolate Labs as she looks away

from the computer and with a stern
face at number five on the floor
next to her chair because the six-

year-old rescue just bit and broke her
reading glasses. It will take a while
before she finds that humorous.

The Impermanent Smiley Face

He read the advice from the
spiritual director of his church

on how to begin meditating.
He had already begun and

was pleased to have the affirm-
ation that he was doing it the

right way. There was advice
about paying attention to breath-

ing. He did that. This time on a
rainy day he opened his eyes

and decided to exhale on the
window in his study causing

the window to fog. Quickly he
drew a smiley face and meditated

on the impermanence of the Emoji
as it faded and disappeared forever.

Then he smiled, closed his eyes
and went back to paying attention

to his breathing for the last
four minutes of the session.

The Streams and Rivulets of Life

It seems
his life has been
a series of rivulets
and ever-expanding
streams.

The question
it seems
is what
rivulets and streams
mean.

Are they leading
somewhere
pleasing
or does he
even care?

It seems all
rivulets and streams
lead to a lake
and then
to the sea

where all other
streams
gather,
commingle
and share.

Even if he
doesn’t now,
somehow
he will
eventually care.

It’s always wonderful
to discover what
one’s rivulets
and streams
mean.

Particularly
in relation
to all
other
rivulets and streams.

Twenty-Four Seven for a Week Camping With Two Who Are in Love and Have Recently Celebrated Twenty-Three Years of Marriage

So, five days together 24/7 in a
17’ travel trailer and we argued
vehemently about what exactly

last night before we went to
bed and let the sun go down
on our anger against what the

good book says and plotted
revenge all night long like how
I would take quick visiting my

son/her step-son in two days
out to breakfast without her
and then in the morning it was

a foregone conclusion that we
would apologize and we would
get on with getting on? And then

we pulled the Egg Camper into
the driveway, unhitched, unloaded
everything and went out for happy

hour and then looked forward to
an evening at home, a bit of TV
and a wonderful night’s sleep.

Later we would discuss my issues
with my mother and her issues with
her father and our issues together….