Pent Up

Paul let his hammer sing
through the air and crash

on two small plastic toys
that broke previously

under his boots
because he did not bother

to carry a flashlight
on this well known patch

of woods and rocks
last night after dark,

returning from watching
a cormorant at dusk

out of place
on a beaver pond

on the stream
carrying snow melt

down the unvisited
mountain top.

Paul’s dog flinched
each time the hammer struck

and little pieces flew
in all directions

for Paul to vent is rage
at turning his ankle

a deep blue-black
and swollen

after sidestepping
other might-be toys

and landing on
a tree root wrong.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

And Shoot Back

We helped Sister rearrange the dead.
They arrived sorted by time.

We arranged them alphabetically
by last name.

We endlessly rearranged the dead
due to pickups and new arrivals.

Yes, it was a lot of work,
but it gave us something constructive to do.

A sense of control in our small corner
of a pandemic world.

Those were the days before frequency
necessitated mass graves.

There were times I suggested aloud
someone in the world should start a war

so we could actually see the enemy,
form ranks and shoot back.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney