Poetry

By Douglas L. Talley


The Former Rain

Once upon the children’s bedtime
the ark again appeared.
We made it from a cardboard box
and something of good cheer.
All heaven smiled upon our labor
to make a box a boat
and fill it with stuffed animals
and make it fit to float.
And when the animals settled in
the children climbed aboard,
first Shannon, Anna, then little Matt,
as bidden by the Lord.
My wife was lightning, wind, and thunder.
I was howling rain.
We whirled the boat from side to side
as though a weather vane,
and it seemed the children’s laughter,
itself a falling rain,
made a rainbow ‘round the house
to alleviate all pain.
And when the children’s laughter died,
it did not die in vain,
but fashioned love within their eyes
where rainbows yet remain.

Hard Words

Hard words sink,
like razor-edged
obsidian chips,
to rest on clear bottoms
of swift streams,
tossed and tumbled
by forceful waters
but rarely lost.
Too long they remain,
alien among plain pebbles
and smooth stones—
ever capable
of causing cutting pain
again.

Faded Wedding Pictures

The waistlines have thickened, the hairlines have thinned;
Wrinkles now settle where dimples once grinned.
The man at my side not so thin or so young,
His hands scarred and calloused from the work that they’ve done.
The sacred promises agreed to that day
Have not been neglected; in fact, I can say,
Through the struggles, blessings, and children we’ve had,
We’ve shared happy moments and learned from the sad.
Sometimes it’s important to stop and admit
When the old-fashioned wedding gown doesn’t quite fit.
The diamond ring has been missing for ages,
And faded pictures rest beneath yellowed pages.
That’s when the same couple who’ve withstood the weather
Realize they’ve grown in love with each other.

[photos] Photography by Jed Clark