William H. Greenway
Bio Note: Nothing’s changed with me, and yet everything has, as it has for most of us lately. But, with all personal changes, we poets can always console ourselves with “Well, at least I got a poem out of it.” So I’m writing a series of short poems called “Quarantines.”
Running on Water
I dreamed again last night that you could walk, taking our hikes in Wales, fishing from the shore in Florida. And then you were even wading out, and suddenly walking over the waves, like Peter, only no longer needing a hand of help. And then, not just walking, but running over the blue-green sea, and far below, making a new reef for the fish, and a harbor for your ship to come in at last, your wheelchair.
Only carnies had them—hard-bitten, cigarette-lipped, cadaverous— and sailors and soldiers, of course. Back when I got drunk on shore leave in San Diego, I’d have gotten one too, if I hadn’t passed out. My lifer buddies could’ve fixed me good: a heart bearing some name not my wife’s, an anchor swearing Semper Fi, dooming me to a future of bar fights with Marines who loved to knock off our Dixie Cups, or with bikers, death skulls on their skinheads. And then it was the Age of Aquarius: Now! on the wrist, twining rose on the ankle, The Great Mandala, Child of the Universe, and other such stuff. Now, what is left? Zen wisdom from a fortune cookie—Chinese calligraphy for kung pao chicken— Celtic armbands of wannabe warriors, symbols of tribes or teams, the tramp stamps of the doggie position? And what will be left? This End Up?, Gone But Not Forgotten?, the multi-colored county fair hot-air balloon of ascension, cocoon of resurrection, the butterflies on shrink-wrapped skin now shriveled into Rorschach blots open to any interpretation.
©2020 William H. Greenway
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