There Now

Twenty-seven years gone
but my dog is young again
riding shotgun in the car
with her nose pressed
to the crack in the window.

Speed generated wind
brings her a thousand stories
as the great plains
rise gently toward the Rockies
and the forest trails we once walked.

For old times sake
I pull off the highway
for a quarter pounder
and buy her a cheeseburger
that she’ll consume in one bite.

Eventually I park the car
at a trailhead on the Spanish Peaks.
Even her golden ghost refuses
to jump out the open door and walk
the trail up to where the thunder gods hangout.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

She Lies Absent

Paul triangulates
the girl of his dreams
to be in the shadow
of a witness sycamore
on the opposite side
of a creek run red.

She wears a dress
the color of turned sycamore leaves
and holds purple prairie aster
that competes
with the last of the dandelions
for the bees’ attention.

He must cross a bridge
made of aged white stone
against a rush of ghosts
groaning and wailing
amid the thunderous canon
and volleys hurled against them.

Upon seeing the color bearer drop
and old glory fall
the woman raises her arm to her brow,
in the manner of Victorian women,
slumps to the ground,
and disappears beneath the leaves.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Preference

Lori choked
on the devil.
He dressed himself
in yellow mustard,
egg yoke and paprika.
She prefers him
in snake form
wrapped around
a tree limb
offering temptation
in the guise
of forbidden
knowledge
about the trauma
of therapists’
rag doll demonstrations—
snow white ghosts
too many years
in closets scared
by the vast salt flats
expanding away
from the doorframe
under a sky
of circling vultures
knowing Los Alamos
is up to something,
but not what
when they call
on the Trinity.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Traffic Rumbles In The Background

A thrasher knocks a bumble bee out of the air
and duels with it until the bee is dead and eaten.

The grizzled Russian men play chess
and grumble about their stale fortune cookies.

Someone’s young daughter places an origami crane
on a stray dog’s nose.

A bus lowers itself with a great whoosh
to ease sidewalk access for the elderly with canes & walkers.

A yiddish accent recounts her loss for words
when she first saw the Grand Canyon from Bright Angel Lodge.

Two navy officers talk about a war
three hundred years in the history books.

On my park bench, I wait for my father to come along.
He is twenty-seven years in the grave.

Punctual as always, his ghost arrives.
We chat corn futures and the trade war’s effects on farms.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney