Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Chris Spradley

It was on a Tuesday

Since then
I have smiled and laughed.
Some have not.
I have cried and been alone,
as we all are alone,
each inside ourselves,
looking out to meet, to seek
others to look in,
others who look out
and seek others to look in,
waiting inside ourselves.

On that day
I was with my father.
We drove away from the television images
at his home,
leaving my mother, his wife,
safe and alone,
my wife left
at my home,
safe and alone.
We drove first through hills
and then valley,
green, at least in memory,
a pass and path
I had enjoyed before.

The morning was cloudy,
not with smoke and ash,
and the light breaking
like a shaft through
the clouds not like smoke and ash,
but only clouds.
The light stood through the clouds
like a pillar.
It struck me then,
the silence of light breaking.
What we call breaking
does not apply to light.
It does to most things;
even sound breaks.
But not light.
It stands,
like a pillar.

The trip and day
saw us over mountains
and through a desert.
And in the desert I was saved
from a ticket for a bad pass
and a truckerís wrath
by the day itself,
or rather the dayís business,
that business of smoke and ash,
which somehow precluded
such business as tickets
and a truckerís wrath.
I was exempted, I say,
from wrath.

And passed on to our destination:
a tiny trailer home,
there in the desert,
with view of a river marsh,
and wanting repair.
And thatís what we did,
my father and I,
over the next few days.
During the day we would fix
and later repair
to a nearby casino,
a place of business,
for rest and respite from the desert sun.
We worked hard
and made progress
resurrecting the old place,
and we left some days later,
the work only begun.

We left the little home
there in the desert,
and we returned home
to our waiting wives
and this business of what comes next.
This waiting.

In the syllabic mirror

Whatís up with this aging,
this crazy, thing?

I donít really under
stand anything.
Iím no wiser today
than yesterday;
I havenít discovered
an other way.

Havenít really found God,
havenít found an answer;
not additioned to math,
found a cure for cancer;

havenít opened smiles

in a million faces;
no laurels, no trophies,
no songs, no praises.

Only creaks in shoulders;
only stalls in back;
the catch and pull in
a rusted crane;
a snap and catch and
catch and catch and catch;
machinery tortures;

no oil, no smoothness,
no graces, no beauties.
My mind/thinking? A mess;

all lumps and soft piles;

something to use and use
well, left hung out, dangling
on a fencepost; refuse;
mangy dog; broken wing.

It wants to leave
itself in piece standing;
token for you,
a statue, a something
to remember
me by, something to last.

I just looked upó
another month has passed.

©2004 by Chris Spradley

Chris Spradley lives in Sacramento, California, where he teaches English at Sacramento City College. He is taken care of by his wonderful wife Guinevere and their beloved dog Abby.

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