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More Poetry By Michael Estabrook.


fleeting figment of my imagination


I reach across the bed

in the night, shadows across

the ceiling mellow yet poised it seems,

and I’m so quiet, careful,

gentle, and tentative,

so as not to wake her,

touch her softly

on her warm shoulder or arm,

then withdraw my hand again

like a turtle’s head

pulling back into its shell

after I realize, relieved, that yes,

she is real and still here

with me in bed,

not merely a dream,

a fleeting figment

of my imagination

which is after all

all that I deserve.



in this day and age


It’s good to be alive.

Is it, do you think so? really?

good to be alive, particularly

in this day and age

with all the terror and tsunamis,

cancers, bombings, famines, and crime,

and now, on top of all of it - the stupid bird flu!!!

And today is my birthday

(getting up there in years) and I’m wondering

once again, why we celebrate getting

another year older, celebrate being born

(as if we had anything to do with it),

particularly in this day and age.

Wondering too if it is truly good to be alive,

I mean, objectively speaking.

In addition to all that’s wrong

with the world, there are my constant

personal worries piled up high

like one big grisly lopsided layer cake:

money troubles, being able, amidst this rampant

corporate greed and disloyalty, to keep my job . . .

and on the very top my throbbing, clawing,

ever gasping-for-air, never-ending

crushing chronic back pain.

The answer of course becomes obvious

as noon:time> approaches bringing the arrival

of our beautiful granddaughter Brooke,

not yet two, striving to talk and walk

and smile, automatically making the world

a better place to live.



Until It Happens


You never know

how you’ll feel about something

until it happens. I’ve been close

to my baby brother our whole lives,

but living thousands of miles apart

and having such busy lives

sometimes you feel the distance,

wonder how you’ll react

to bad things in each other’s lives.

But when he told me

he was leaving his wife of 20 years

my anxiety level overflowed

into the sluice surrounding

our lives. Instantly the image

unveiled itself of my baby brother

living by himself in a dark little room

above a garage, eating cold pasta

every day and watching reruns of MASH

on an old black and white TV.



ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny


Don’t know why this concept still intrigues

me so, a vestige from my early days

as a biology major at Wagner:PlaceName> College:PlaceType>:place>:

the Horrmann Library where I liked

to ruminate and study,

the new science building

where I had all those seminars

and classes with Dr. Yarns and Dr. Priddy,

the old labs

dissecting and sketching

worms and planaria and a fetal pig.

To go back in time

now that’s the trick

I guess we can only do it in

our minds, at least for now, that is.



a melancholy afternoon


Normally when I

walk along the tracks

and see or hear a train coming

I rush off into

the woods to watch

the monster unseen,

feel its vibrations rumbling,

smell its oily metal

and smoky wake,

while remaining quiet and still

as a bush or a tree or a rock.

But today I don’t feel much

like playing this childish game.

I’m feeling strangely older

and weary-worn of life.

I even neglected

to put the pennies on the tracks

like I always do.





Then she says,

right out of

the blue, looking up

at me play-fluttering

those long lashes

of her rich, creamy

brown eyes,

her beautiful doe

eyes, “Why don’t

we go back

to my room and

fool around awhile?”

And I’m dumbstruck

and have no idea

what to say.

a line

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