I once asked my friend
When he could remember being happy.
He responded, “Back when I was poor.”
A woman in my church
Lost her husband to cancer,
And then her children to a fire a year later.
She still attends worship every Sunday.
There’s a patient in the psychiatric ward I work at
Who sits at his window every day
Staring at the same tree.
He said his father lives in the branches.
I wonder what would happen
If someone went out with a rake
And knocked all the leaves down.
The weekend came and I found other concerns.
Now it is wishing
There was a cushion in this booth.
From lawn chairs and blankets,
On the roofs and hoods of automobiles,
They watch the soulless needles rise,
Racing to find heaven before the end.
Young children tremble
Deceived by the flash and trailing thunder.
The remains drift through the sky
Like the skeletons of spiders
Caught in a breeze.
A car alarm sounds from the dealership.
Birds take from trees and steeples.
Lost behind colored smoke
They search the strange storm for rest.
It isn’t long before the teens grow bored,
As fathers point out to those on their laps
The smiley faces and hearts, brief constellations.
The farther ones
Slivers of light
Fresh upon the sky
Make me think of portals
To other worlds,
Opened by the cut of an angel's wing.
Pretend you're a god and hold one
Between your thumb and finger
Like a needle against the sun.
Think of where they're going
And how you touched their lives
So delicately, they will never know.
Trapped in an Elevator
It is never that long until the batteries have died
And all they can do is guess the wait.
Courtesy will take its cue
And strangers will talk like friends
Returned from rehab clinics.
Lock them in a box where a man with special keys
Is not on the way
And they’ll agree to a corner in which to hold each other.
Perhaps it’s the dread of such a future
That causes them to smile
When passing each other on the sidewalk.
Or dying in a strange land years later
Where humans have no shame in robbing a body
Before it has stopped breathing.
Show them there is an end and they’ll
Forget what it means to kill for sustenance.
And by then I’m sure our cities will have drowned,
Inhabited with monsters
Blindly luring food with the light of glassless lamps.
Above ground, those who were taught such a trick
Will eat each other;
And though it seems a terrible time
They’ll still walk side by side
Like children afraid to hold hands.
Copyright © 2014 Nicholas Kriefall