Poet: Marc Gilbert
(First appeared in Avalon Literary Review, Spring 2016)
Some days, usually in summer
when the light is right
and my mind is quiet,
I’ll pass a street that looks familiar;
its straight trees plotted in parkways,
their trunks just wide enough for a boy to hide behind,
and think of my grandfather.
Before the hospital bed and ice chips
when he remembered my name
and every walk was an adventure—
before he grew small.
“What is it that the sign says, Markey?”
“Words can be weapons or keys.
An honest, “please” could buy a chiclet
or a lifesavers. A careless curse could
cost the balance of a day.
Open books on park benches,
breadcrumbs for birds.
From his voice I heard as
David took the giant,
From my own I heard Odysseus take to sea.
“With a word, God spoke the world into existence.”
Doubt is death and I was very much alive.
I’d seen Ali Baba speak an entrance to a mountain
and climbed Olympus before I’d ever seen Spot run.