Monday Poem

In the Middle of a Cycle
everything comes in waves
— some of which break like 70 footers at Portugal’s

.… “Invest in a good surfboard”
she said as if she’d already read
the morning edition of tea leaves, coffee grounds,
or whatever her most knowledgeable herb

my father, late in life,
during his period of popping nitros,
having sludged his lungs with tar
having bequeathed his heart limited breathing
—back then my father said, “I think life comes in cycles,”
which I never expected from he-who-
at least not in showy ways as far as I recall

he was more boots on the ground
then —a man who knew work

I have a drawing of the last time I saw him
standing behind the open door of his Buick
saying goodbye forever (as it turned out)
I drew it from a photo

….. a minute later in another
….. he’s holding Leah

….. heading back to NJ, Peg drove him
….. straight to a hospital bed

from there a short hop, skip and a jump to heart failure
found him in a thicket of hoses and other paraphernalia
tended by a surgeon, only to come fully breathless,
without baggage, to no avail

I cried —I sobbed really, core-of-earth-sobs
full of magma and white hot stone
looking for a mountain to blow apart, but
soon became centered in another spot


in the middle of a cycle


by Jim Culleny