July 1, 2015

Three Poems By Donal Mahoney: "After Burying A Wife", "There's a Cliff Ahead", "Nearing the Finish Line"

Nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, Donal Mahoney has had work published in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com/

After Burying a Wife

Were she here with me now,
by the waist I would raise her,
a chalice of wonder.
I’d bellow hosannas
and whirl her around,
tell her again that I love her,
press my face moist
in the pleats of her skirt,
ask her to sprinkle
phlox on the curls
of our children
if they are with her,
ask her to stay a while longer
while I do so much more
were she here with me now.

There's a Cliff Ahead

Sixty years ago,
the two of us rode tricycles
up a little hill
behind our school.
Nothing stopped us till  
mothers called us home.

Sixty years later,
we ride mountain bikes
in this wilderness.
We'll keep pedaling till
someone takes our bikes.
We know that someone will. 

Your wife told me
you haven't been 
to church in years.
She's worried
about your heart.
Skips a beat?
Let's stop for coffee
and you can fill me in.
There's not much time.
Maybe we should stop 
for a beer instead.
There's a cliff ahead.

Nearing the Finish Line

Walking very slowly, ancient Wally's 
right behind his ancient Molly who's 
stepping down the garden path, 
her first time out in weeks, 

wobbly still on her new knee.
She's been housebound far too long, 
leg propped up, reading books, gazing out 
the window for some sign of Spring.

She wants to trust her Wally when 
she sends him out to check her garden 
and he comes back bubbling to say
"Spring has sprung, my dear"

but Molly needs to see that for herself.
Wally may have missed a sprig or sprout
and it would not be the first time. 
On a lovely day, many years ago

when they were young, didn't Wally claim 
a patch of dandelions were crocuses?
So now Molly hobbles out on a silver cane
and leans slowly down the path 

toward the first of seven gardens with 
Wally right behind her, arms outstretched, 
ready to catch her if she slips, a man  
wearied now by many weeks as caregiver.

He's a man of many years, most of them  
spent in a hurry until his stroke, a factor 
that's a hallmark of their lengthy marriage. 
Molly's always careful, Wally not so much.

In fact, he still roars into everything,
a second stroke waiting to happen.
But for the moment he forgets the present 
as his memory darts into their happy past 

and he whispers over Molly's shoulder, 
"Let's take our time, my dear.  
Let's make Robert Frost a prophet.
Let's have many miles to go before we sleep."

~Donal Mahoney

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