The following poem was published in Quivre River anthology, 11/10.
I wrote it after visiting my best friend in New Hampshire who was
suffering from memory loss. This is one of MY favorite memories.
Hitching a Ride on a Song
Bacon sizzles on wisps of wood smoke and weaves
through autumn leaves in hues so bright it makes me squint.
Outside my best friend’s cabin, I watch the morning sun scorch
the surface of Newfound Lake and ignite the tree-tops.
A breeze dumps nature's treasures at my feet
like contraband from a bad boy’s pockets.
Enthralled at the frisky fall foliage, I set my coffee mug down
imagine slurping cherry Kool-aid from the red sugar maples, and
swallowing the butterscotch nectar of yellow elms, sucking fire-orange
extract from burnished oaks, tinting my tongue with evergreen elixir.
I guzzle a gallon of happiness.
In one sweet swill I devour my morning blend.
Loons in love stir the stillness as my dear friend
onto the porch searching for me and her short term memory.
She hovers over my shoulder. I silently curse her brain cancer.
She lowers her head, raises her voice, draws her robe tight and belts
out an old Janis Joplin song from our youth.
“Oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz…” Our voices blend,
peal over the White Mountains, tumble down a lush meadow,
quiver on a stream, bottom out in a valley and echo through the woods –
a timeless melody hitchhikes on her long-term memory.
For a moment we are vibrant, young,
climbing mountains, swimming seas, rocking babies,
traipsing across tundra as we did forty years ago
when we met as next door neighbors in Alaska.