beneath these tendriled
branches, why turn away
from morning’s recognition?
Avert your face from plucking hands?
“True mystery,” sighs the bending bough.
“A puzzle,” flocked and wand’ring warblers sing.
Lingering at the breakfast table, an hour or two of chores already completed, he folds away the newspaper before turning to smile at the small, barefoot disturbance running into his kitchen.
“Are you done, Grandpa?” Glancing toward the over-sized cup resting on the table next to its deep, broad saucer he says, “No, not quite. Do you want a turn?” Not waiting for a reply, he pushes back his chair as I hop from one foot to the other, filled to the brim with impatience.
Carrying his cup to the stove, he fills it with coffee from the dented aluminum pot that’s been keeping on the back burner, then turns to ease into his chair. Carefully, he pours some of the dark, fragrant liquid into the saucer and hands it to me.
Gently at first, then more confidently, I ripple the muddy, steaming pond with my breath. Daring to take a sip, I find the coffee still too hot for drinking so I continue on, breathing across the bowl until a second sip or a third no longer burns my lips. Only then do I hand the saucer to my grandfather. “Perfect,” he says with another smile, sipping the cooled coffee from the saucer. Refilling it from the cup he drinks again, pouring and filling and drinking until the last of the coffee is gone. (more…)
Readers know the truth. Closing the cover on a well-told tale is one of the most satisfying experiences in the world.
Breathing a sigh, caught between worlds, still oblivious to the clamor of unmade beds and untended gardens vying for their attention, readers linger at the threshhold of half-remembered lives, hesitant to turn from the vibrant, constructed world they entered with such anticipation, happy to have discovered all the pleasures of diversion, insight and beauty it once allowed.
Still, as I set aside the story of Godot, my self-effacing little cactus with the extravagant blossoms, I was content. The history of his rescue, the drama of his against-all-odds determination to bloom and the glory of his flowering had been recounted, and it was time to move on.
From all appearances, Godot was equally satisfied. As his blossoms faded and fell, he didn’t fuss or complain but re-dedicated himself to growing quietly in his corner. Life went on, as life does, and all was at peace on the porch. (more…)
“What’s happening with Godot this year?” she asked. Startled, I said I didn’t know. I’d paid scant attention to my little patio friend since April, when inspections revealed no sign of activity in the cactus pot – no new growth, no buds, no blooms. By the beginning of May things still were quiet and, as happens in so many families, the quiet and well-behaved one was left to fend for himself.
Of course, turning your back on the quiet one can be dangerous. Left to their own devices, there’s no telling what they’ll get up to. (more…)