Posted in Before the Rain

Crosscut

Heroes,
as essential as water,
as impermanent as states of matter.
Rock dissolved by waves,
steam freed by a kettle.

Chris,
the only Ph.D. on staff –
the first met outside University.
Ph.D……
piled higher and deeper he said
flip handedly,
said he didn’t like being called Dr,
“felt embarrassed by it,”
but was expected to do so. No choice.
The star of our show – undoubtedly
would I like to help with……?
YES.

I told people he was mentoring me
even though I knew he really wasn’t –
it was the kind of thing expected from hero.
Instructions were often tinfoil
and expectations gold. Always.
Sink or swim …
I’d swum the English Channel for him.

He was 37
and twice divorced.
Scuttlebutt said, both were very young first-time
and the second
she couldn’t cope with his talent and success.

The windows are high and old-fashioned
lattice of glass and beading
spray light on his face –
red and stretched with fury.

“ Why I had done it?”
Explanation catalyzed anger
he advanced towards me ….
I was not to do anything without checking with him.
“Is that clear?”
I mumble acknowledgement. 
“IS…THAT…..CLEAR ”
the tone frightening
and frenzied –
a plantation owner toward a slave.
I continued to admired him. He ceased to be a hero.

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Author:

Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.