by Michael Estabrook
Hes protecting the homestead barking
and lunging at the lawnmower guy
on the other side of the window
a product of mans domestication
for protection, companionship.
Shall we grill tonight dear
or get Chinese take-out or Mexican?
Doesnt matter to me.
Did you see on the news
more pilot whales beached themselves
near Judique in Cape Breton?
Wonder why they do that.
No one knows why. Could be confusion
caused by sonar
or fear of shark attacks or from poison
or pollution or something in the weather
Max for crying out loud stop barking! Quiet!
Chinese it is.
Does Max know they eat dogs in China?
35 years after their rancorous divorce
their Annus Horribilis
as Lois would say
Johnny insists he wants her back again.
Tell her, he takes us aside
Tell her you heard were getting married again
this coming April.
Are you sure? OK.
So we tell her
wishing it could be so wishing history
could be rewritten, Johnny and Lois
having never split up
having never torn themselves to pieces
and everything was right again
as it had been
our collective nostalgia warm and thriving
an unbroken continuum sure and reassuring
as the sun and moon. But Lois
was having none of it, didnt
even smile, only shook her head and said
Nope. That ship sailed a long long time ago.
She likes her cereal soggy
cant swallow pills
makes the bed as shes crawling out of it
takes baths not showers
doesnt drink or swear
cant go to bed without emptying the dishwasher
is always on a diet but refuses to call it a diet
moves her lips while shes reading
always changes our table in restaurants
loves puzzles, giraffes, and mangoes
doesnt keep any houseplants
doesnt like eating fish or swimming in the ocean
amazing what you learn about a woman
after being with her 45 years.
What can you do?
As my mother gets older she calls more
especially since my brother died
She tells me how her cars running or not
and what shes made for dinner.
She tells me she misses Kerry
and me and Todd too.
She tells me how hot it is in Florida
and that they need rain desperately.
She tells me losing a son
is far worse than losing a husband.
She tells me to stay off the damn ladder.
Guardian Angels everyone has Guardian Angels
who guard you in life who
are always by your side
beings, people, alive or dead and you
can be a Guardian Angels too
to someone else by bringing Gods blessing to them.
So I made Father G mine
by cuing-up to be blessed by him
even though I am a non-believer
a heathen, a mere visitor to this church
and he smiled as he made
the mark of the cross upon my forehead happy
to have touched an outsider I imagine.
And I said thank you and returned reverently
to my seat wondering
the whole while what any of this
has to do with losing my brother
earlier this year
a merciless agony the cancer consuming him alive
leaving only etchings
of his bones beneath his thin skin.
I wondered where the hell God was
during all that horror and why
he allowed the Devils Guardian Angel
who or whatever that is
to bless the Devil so he could rule the day.
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