Excerpts > Fall 2003

Jeff Worley

Two poems

The Last Joke Between Us

Alone with my father, I see he's dressed
in his one red tie imprinted
with pearl-handled Colt .45s

He's posing, old bluffer, eyes
sealed, a smile trying to break
through lip pins that hold it back.

OK, odl man, I'll do it. I'll keep
my promise: I slip into his rough
composed fingers two black aces,

two black eights and a deuce of spades.
And I'm sure he's smiling
when the door behind us whooshes

open and the pallid men move
to snug the lid of darkness down

Five Months After His Death

My mother wakes to no necessity.
Sun slats in through the blinds.
The air conditioner hums
its one steady song.

She pads to the kitchen where Dad
would have handed her a mug
of Folger's before getting lost again
in trade rumors and box scores.

Mother microwaves yesterday's coffee,
takes the cup with her into the yard.
She sees a stormblown nest
has tumbled into twisted myrtle.

Two of the blue-speckled eggs
are unbroken. Nothing circles
or scolds her when she lifts them out.

She closes the eggs into her palm
and watches the sky all morning.

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