Monday Poem

Whiplash and Mercies

silence thick as her stews
filled my grandmother’s house
but for the cars on 15 on wet nights
close, hissing toward Picatinny
black Buicks, big black Packards
heavy as her life
wide whitewalls spinning
on two-lane asphalt
before the interstate
sliced through
table in her living room
a glut of snaps of Jim and Jack
Howard Frank Velma Ruth
Gladys Leo Leroy Pat
the lot of them by-gone
in black & white
mugging hugging beaming
young as they’d been
in their taste of time
vitality a temporal joke
skin taut as cloudless sky
on a blue blue day
pillowed day-bed
against the front wall
beneath a window
across from brown coal stove
radiating from October
until earth-sun geometry
more suited blood & breath
chairs stuffed as turkeys
holiday mists real as pin pricks
bright and huge as a looming moon
crisp as frost
memory is fierce and tender
how it claws and cradles the day
shadowlight shifting,
illusory shapes filled with
the whiplash and mercies
of some

Jim Culleny