Pendulum

Paul can’t sleep.
He sits up and the covers slump to his lap.
He grabs Peter Rabbit.
He is not too old for this comfort, though he is old.

He listens to the wind whip around the house,
to the heavy rain banging the swamp-cooler,
to the roof’s runoff trickling into the cistern,
to the house’s creaks and groans.

Paul thinks of his childhood, growing up outside Chicago.
How snow was always on the ground at Christmas.
How Halloween was safe for trick-or-treating kids.
How the movies were twenty-five cents a ticket.

He remembers the lake park and its swing sets.
How he would swing back and forth.
How he would swing up and down.
How he loved the timeless pendulum motion.

Paul falls back to sleep.
He still holds onto Peter Rabbit.
The covers remain off of his shoulders.
The swing’s rising and falling matches his breath.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

A Black Yell

A black yell
too weak to block the snowfall
kept you up late,
feeling nowhere
under your bed sheets
and blankets.

Your cold hands felt good
against the heat of my hands.
So opposite our normal.
Fingertips caked in charcoal
left identifying prints on me.

We knew the black yell
came out of watching the news.
But you refused to quit Maddow,
compared that to turning
into an ostrich cartoon,
head stuck in sand
with blacked-out speech balloon.

Your shoes’ tongues
spoke a manifesto
against asphalt and double yellow lines
in preference of buffalo grass,
sagebrush, rabbitbrush and sandy arroyos.

The snowfall gave up
blocking out the void and the stars.
You chose to fit yourself
into the pocket of my sleep,
nested in the bright blue vest
of Peter Rabbit at my bed stand.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Fifty Feet

My
stuffed animal
toy that is
one of millions
of Peter Rabbits
in blue waist coats
tells me there are
seven suns shining
and producing
seven shadows.
I am human
so I see only one
luminous orb.

To protect
my eyes
I do not look
at the sun,
but acknowledge
I see seven moons
when I observe it
traversing the night
and this is due
to my stigmatism
and my
corrective lenses
fail to hold
objects together
at distances
longer than
fifty feet.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney