On the way to see Norm
We drive through sleepy old small towns
Long defunct power lines run parallel
To older railroad tracks
Blue glass conductors still perch atop them
Like birds, shiny and still in the sunlight.
They use them now to make lighting fixtures;
Small table lamps and candle holders
Affixed to painted pieces of heavy pipe.
I wonder if the artists of these lamps
Come to places like this and harvest them
Like picking apples from a tree.
“Welcome to Wellsville”
We’re almost there.
Norm’s home town
Where he’s only recently returned.
I’m going to say goodbye.
We all are
Even though we don’t say it out loud.
We’ve brought poetry, and grapes
For our dear friend
Peace, and endless gratitude.
On the way they tell me
He’s a shell of his former self
(I hear: a ghost)
As much as I try to prepare myself,
Last door on the left
I held his hand for hours;
He held mine
His words come slowly now
In short bursts.
We hang on every word
Starving for his voice.
Since I was in
Over and over
A thousand times
On the way home the same phrase keeps going through my head:
“The trouble is,
We think we have time.” (Buddha)