Jerry Kraft

TWO POEMS

TWILIGHT RECOLLECTION

On a child’s long summer evening, the light
is afraid to let go, and night is scabby-kneed
and weaker than the moon. Mom calls
from the kitchen door, so we’ll know day is over.

Supper is at five o’clock. He doesn’t like it late,
and Mom just wants us to eat while it’s hot.
Talk is our newscast, the ordinary day, we hear
world events as a mumble chewed and swallowed.

Passing the bowl of potatoes, pouring ketchup
on over-cooked roast, plain vegetables boiled
until they can only give up, we drink tall glasses
of cold milk, and Dad always has coffee after.

One time he brought home inflatable monkeys
some guy was selling at the gate to the plant,
and we were so surprised, because he usually
didn’t buy junk for us kids. He smiled.

On a child’s long summer evening, the light
is afraid to let go, and night is scabby-kneed
and weaker than the moon. Mom calls
from the kitchen door, so we’ll know day is over.

ANIMAL BURIAL

My father raised animals, and when a sick one would die,
I remember how he would take the carcass, drop it
in a cold hole, and fill it in with shovel after shovel,
and tell us not to cry. Animals die. You don’t be cruel
when they’re alive and you don’t waste tears when they die,
and that would be the end of it, and we’d look back and it
was nothing but a patch of new dirt, level with the rest.

But today, when our family cat died, we wrapped his body
in a newspaper with a headline that read, “Journey’s End”,
and I found a spot in a beautiful corner of the garden,
and our girls came out, and we said a silent prayer,
then one after another, we sifted a handful of soil
on the wrapped package, released an orange balloon,
and watched it drift into clouds and free blue sky,
floating upward in a gesture that might say goodbye.

Only the small death of a common pet, yet it is how
we make lives matter, how we make the smallest loss
a greater part of a larger life. How I, in my own
quiet moments, reflect my father, in all the ways
that I am what he was not, because of what
I watched him bury in those unloved places.

Jerry Kraft is a playwright, poet and theatre critic. His poetry has been published in Rattle, Blood Orange Review, Bellowing Ark, Driftwood Review, The Seattle Star, Tidepools and others. His plays have been widely produced and he has reviewed Seattle theatre for www.SeattleActor.com for the past ten years. He lives in Port Angeles, Washington.

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