Sayings

Angel, you live in the holy light
and we live in your shadows.

Please dance so your movement
lets a little light through

and I can see when the light glints
off my daughter’s sparkly halo.

I scrub the kitchen floor
and this corner is too dark for me to tell

if I got it Clean as a whistle
so I may prove I have done nothing immoral.

Angel, thank you for folding your wings
and getting down on your hands and knees

to help me buff this linoleum beautiful
as in Cleanliness is next to godliness.

But Angel, you spread that darkness
over my shiny linoleum floor—

the shadowy shape my dog casts
carrying a dead squirrel to her dish.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Interviewing

A dog waits for the right person.
Her nose records stories.

The right person will know her name.
There will be a ball of the right size.

It will not squeak.
No squeaky toys!

The yard will house three point two squirrels.
She will keep the squirrels treed.

The person will understand her contract
prohibits killing squirrels.

As long as they stay in trees.
On the ground—fair game.

Her right person will not use her
to torment frightened people onto slave ships.

Her right person allows laborers to unionize
and drive hard, but fair bargains.

No rounding up cattle.
They have enough problems.

In a famine her right person
will share the last scrap of food with her.

She half-closes her eyes
and sniffs more stories as they walk by.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

At Thirteen

My parents left the house.
They left me alone.

I am less alone than when they are present.
I will be less alone for ten days.

The dog is asleep.
We walked seven miles.

We walked that distance as a delaying tactic
so my parents would be gone

by the time the dog and I
returned to the house.

The dog gives little woofs
through her sleep.

The TV plays without sound
so the dog may sleep

with her head on my thigh
on the couch were she is forbidden.

My mind rotates through subjects
just as the TV slow motion baseball rotates

on its way to home plate
to complete its part of the pitch.

A squirrel looks in from the window.
It presses paws to glass.

It knows this is the spot
where my parents place peanuts to attract it.

This spot is adjacent to the door
that allows the dog into the yard.

When the squirrel sees I do not move
it jumps on to the bird feeder

and knocks its willy-nilly
so seed scatters on to patio stones.

The squirrel scoops up the seed.
The TV shortstop scoops up a ground ball.

A double play is turned to end the inning.
The dog repositions her sleeping head.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Much The Same

I stumbled on a tree root.
All my words fell out of my mouth.
All of them. The seldom used ones too.

Blanket, forget-me-not,
moon and trademark
stuck to my left arm.

They sunk below my skin
to become tattoos
in search of colors other than black.

Working late into the evening,
I picked up most of my vocabulary,
fearing a frost would wither my words.

Squirrels scurried over to the spill
and took words away
to bury them for a winter cache.

I cannot name
a single nut type anymore.
Or what it is that encases its edible kernel.

The tree roots soaked up many words.
The tree now pleads with me
when I trim its branches.

While relaxing in its shade,
the tree tells me how it feels
about squirrels.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney