Mi Tarea de Vocabulario

A smokey twist
rises from a cigarette
above the bent nubs
of four others
in an ashtray.

My Spanish tutor
practices card tricks
in an empty room
but fails to conjure
the three of clubs
from thin air
thickened with smoke.

My arrival
for my lesson
shoves her cards
deep into a red
woolen pocket
as my halting words
relay I left
my vocabulary
homework
in a parking lot
truck cab
that is by now
eighteen-wheeling it
west on I-40.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Excuse

The sky came too close.
I felt claustrophobic.

My hand reached up and touched it.
I failed to push it away.

I wished to assign blame.
I was the only one around.

With the sky closing in,
the horizons felt at liberty to do so too.

All shadows became smaller.
They were compressed upon themselves.

Madness emanated from condensed shadow.
It wanted to box the sky.

I sought a reset button.
It must have been hidden in the shadows.

The sky came so close
I felt obliged to drop to one knee.

From one knee I fell flat
and felt the cool grass on my chest.

The pressure of the sky upon my back
and the horizons on my sides

turned out to be therapeutic and calming,
until your phone call jarred me awake.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney