Loving Things Equally

My father was able to love many things equally. He loved so many things that we had a two car garage that never had a car in it.

As a boy I would clamber around in the dark and dust and find things like ancient baseball gloves or WWII ribbons or patches. When I would trot something out, my father would tell me the story behind it, giving me glimpses into his life. The baseball glove for, instance, was his when he was young and athletic, wanting to try out for a team, but his father, my grandfather, who was a Methodist minister, forbade him because gambling had been associated with baseball and he didn’t want my father around it.

He still had his army uniform and mess kit from WWII, and he would tell me about his experiences of basic training and his different jobs as a staff sergeant. He was never in combat but saw a lot of the states by train while escorting AWOL soldiers back to their bases.

Each item had a story, even the old furniture of long dead relatives.

As he lay close to death in a hospital bed, he looked at me and said, “You know, I never got to clean the garage.” He was so sincerely regretful that I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Now my garage is a museum of my past, my kid’s past, and, yes, even his past. I still have his uniform, some letters he wrote to my mother before they were married and his old slide projectors that he would use to torment us by showing vacation pictures on a sheet tacked on the dining room wall.

But you know, I can get a car in my garage-my wife’s!

—Robert Porter

For Now

Relaxed and sipping tea
                                    I ponder
                                                 thoughts of the day
                                                                                while
                                                                                        they
                                                                                              fall
                                                                                                   randomly
                                                                                    like
                                                                                         silent
                                                                          snowflake
                                                              cushions
                                                                           to the                                     
                                                                                     ground
where they mix
                       with
                              cushioned thoughts from the past.
I shed my shoes
                         and
                              walk across them
                                                        feeling their
                                                                           softness
                                                                                        and
                                                                               gentle massage
and
      I am assured
                          this                            
                               is
                                 my
                                    path
                                          for
                                              now.


                                                                                                 For Now 
                                                                                                 —karen smith

                                                                                                 2014

Winter Soup


Running in from outside, breathless and pink cheeked,
The girl holds the bowl of soup in two small hands.
Her chilled face tingles in the rising savory steam.
Closing her eyes, she drinks deep the golden miso.
“Yum,” she says, “it warms me all the way to my toes.”
In a swift, graceful moment, she puts down the bowl
And flies out the door to an ice crystal world.

The black shadows of memory draw lines over my mood.
A white winter sun outside is high and cold.
Sitting at the kitchen table, bundled up,
I look out the window to the hard frozen ground.
The soup tastes salty and bland and leaves me still empty.
Blowing on my fingers, I think, “When did I forget how to play?”
“How did I learn to feel cold in winter?”

—G. Elizabeth Law