Just Wants To Hold Her

A post card of the McLean House
at Appomattox arrived
and announced Lee’s surrender
of the Army of Northern Virginia.

History books prepared me
for this eventuality.
I was happy it was finally done
and moved from fiction to reality.

Paul’s cherry blossom signature
was at the bottom of the postcard
and April’s fragrant air
filled my November home.

I both wanted and did not want
to be there with him
and take part in the celebration
with a silent hundred-gun salute.

I expect Lee’s tent
wore a do not disturb sign
as he lovingly touched a daguerreotype
of Mary and remembered home.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


It was the Battle Cry of Freedom
that woke Paul to feel
the blue exhilaration of Appomattox.

Throughout the day
he asked all of his friends
if they heard it too.

But they were all too busy
preparing for commercial airline flights
reversing the middle passage in coach.

Paul then turned to the pink flamingos
wading in the swimming pool
filled with water too electric to be real.

He saw they were not wet
and the one bather was suspended
like a banana slice in vibrant blue jello.

For the first time since waking
Paul considered he might be dreaming
and sleep’s storm tossed ocean

tried to message him
with a reconstruction image
destined for his conscious mind.

He tried to be calm
and hear his inner voice speak
but received only Christmas carols

way too early in the season
with Halloween a few days into the future
and a wicker basket

filled with a variety of bite-sized candy bars
ready for the doorbell to ring
with little surprises.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Around The Dog

Not tonight.
No he said she said.

No ping pong either.

No! Table tennis
is ping pong by another name.

Not fair of you to try to slip one by me.

I am tired and U. S. Grant’s migraine
infects my left hemisphere.

Yes. The brain. I feel blurry.

So now you think
we are a few hours from surrender.

Oh, how Appomattox of you.

This bedroom is not
Wilmer McLean’s parlor on April ninth.

Good night, dear.

Roll over and fall asleep
with your arm around the dog.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

House Divided

My driver’s name is my name.
Chauffeur and passenger simultaneously.
Sometimes while in conversation with myself,
I become misplaced on a highway
that is not my destination’s highway.
Somedays, the highways know best
where I am truly headed.

On those somedays, I ask myself
Where are we headed?
I never know, but I trust the highway
like it is a black asphalt angel.
In the upper midwest, it is a grey concrete angel.
In the desert southwest, it can be a red clay angel.

In April, the highway took me
all the way to Appomattox, Virginia.
I guess I needed a beginning to an end.
Reasonable terms for the cessation of hostilities.
The highway just informed me
it is time for me to end my divided war.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney