The Weekly Flashback features “retired” poems, most of which I wrote between 2001 and 2002. They are pieces that, for one reason or another, I will no longer be working on. While I don’t consider them “finished” pieces, I’ve decided to share them in their “final” form.
MOOD MUSIC rolled out of my head in Milwaukee, winter of 2001/02. I was getting off of work in the morning, walking out of the restaurant I cleaned when I saw an old woman waiting for the bus. She smiled at me in a way that made me think I reminded her of someone. I got the sense that she’d lost a son some time ago, and that he was around my age when he died.
I woke to snow and some song
of losing love or death or both,
and thought of the last two funerals
I’d missed. Later, I swallowed some
of this melancholy in front of an old woman
at a bus stop who thought of her son
when I passed, the one who’d died
at twenty. She wore it in her eyes
and a trembling hand that snug
her coat collar tight.
She smiled when I smiled because no one
smiles at her much these days,
convinced I was an angel, had been sent
by one in the light of that day
to smile and share some warmth
before we all pass on.
I don’t mind a part in someone’s play
so long as results are fair,
and later she finds me waiting the way
she waits, takes me back
to my grandmother, buried,
the way she smiles hello.
Read last week’s flashback.