More Poems 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 Im 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 turtles 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
Its 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 Im 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 thats 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 youll feel about something
until it happens. Ive 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 youll react
to bad things in each others 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
Dont 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 thats 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 dont feel much
like playing this childish game.
Im 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
her beautiful doe
eyes, Why dont
we go back
to my room and
fool around awhile?
And Im dumbstruck
and have no idea
what to say.
* * * * *
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