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Five Poems - Doug Tanoury

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Nocturne

In the early hours of the morning,
At 2:30 and sometimes after,
I would hear my father,
Unable to sleep, couching,
His footsteps moving about,
As he transformed the kitchen
Into a concert hall,
With refrigerator doors closing loudly.
Jars could be heard opening.
Their vacuum seals hissing,
Lids rolling, spiraling and strumming
Across table or countertop,
The sound of him rummaging
Through the silver for knife, fork
Or spoon, and the glupp-glupp of him
Pouring a soda, the fizzle of it
In the glass.

Some nights now I wake up
At 2:30 or sometime after,
Unable to sleep.
In the summer, I sit out
In the quiet on the front porch step,
In winter, in the darkened living room
At the rolltop desk, but always
Avoiding the kitchen.
Indeed, I tiptoe through it, for the
Silence there has grown
Into a monument to him,
And I fear that if I click the
Glass of the pimento olive
And the sweet pickle jars
It will disturb his peace,
And any slight rattle of silverware
Will conjure his spirit.

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Last Words

I had a dream I met
The ghost of my father
In an all-night supermarket.
I was walking down the produce
And frozen food aisle
When I saw him following me,
Walking close behind,
But I did not recognize him
Until he spoke the name
Of my childhood: "Hi Dougie."
As I heard his voice
I knew him at once.
I turned to hug him,
And for one long moment
In the brightly lit store
Between the prickly pears
And frozen pizzas
We stood embracing.
He never spoke again,
And I too not speaking,
Just held him.

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Conversation With Grandma

She is so beautiful
When she talks to her grandma,
Sitting on a corner edge
Of the hospital bed
As she listens intently
To grandma's broken
English, nodding her head
At certain statements
Which causes her hair tied
In a pony tail to wag
Cutely up and down,
Sometimes side to side, and
Sometimes it spirals in circles,
Some of them round,
Some more elliptical.

She is so beautiful
When she talks to her grandma,
Sitting on the bed absorbed
In conversation, with animated hair
Tied back in an expressive tail and
Like a conductor's baton it
Seems to set and moderate
The pace of conversation,
And at that moment I want only
To study all the aspects of
Pony-tail physics,
To steep myself in the
Small details of the science
Of silent motion
That accompanies and punctuates
A conversation with grandma.

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Winter
Winter Pears

On a wooden swing hanging
From the highest bough
Of his backyard pear tree
We learned to fly at the
Speed of dreams on summer
Afternoons, leaning back
And gripping rusted
Chains and looking far up
Into thick foliage that hid
The dark limbs that held us.

From the tall tree that grew
Small winter pears
Iíd fly with him across the
Summers and briefly
Forget for a moment
My parentís marriage,
The family finances,
My sisterís sickness.
In quick motion sweeping us
Upward, we learned to fly.

Before I knew of fallen fruit
Or how spring winds
Waste pear blossoms,
I knew him. He flew
Unfettered and without
Cares where dreams
Grew slow like winter pears
On the highest branches
To ripen and fall only
In late summer.

Today, under a pear tree
Drooping with fruit
I dreamt him here.

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Scott Fountain

There is a renaissance fountain
Of white Italian marble
In a city park. On occasion
I still go there, for it holds
The magic of my childhood.
My grandfather and I would visit it
On summer afternoons.
He would always open
His pocket change holder,
In slow motion and pick
Out a coin for me to toss
In the water with my wish.
In the sounds of the
Streams spraying upward,
In the glint of silver coins through
The water, I think of him.

There is a renaissance fountain
Of white Italian marble,
That my grandfather
And I would visit,
That holds all my old wishes,
The heavy heartfelt ones
That sink swiftly in the turbid
Waters and lie invisible
On colored tile bottom
Grown over with algae.
They remain unseen and
Waiting, as requests from
The devout sometimes await
God's granting. Wishes
Are secular prayers.
I know this, for whenever
I hold a Mercury dime or
Indian-head nickel
I wish he were here.

Autumn

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Doug Tanoury lives in Detroit, USA. You can visit him at his own website.

Please, read another 5 poems by Doug Tanoury at this site and his Avon Poems.

Notice © 1997 IP and the author


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