EP&M Online Poems
On the winding road to Bowl and
did you sing along with everyone else?
Not your four brothers, who spastically pumped
their arms to produce crude squeaks, but one voice
at least, your father’s, his bright baritone
lingering over songs from morning Mass
or else some Bing record. Mother watched while
two ribbons, farmland and sky, rippled past
as the years do, and tapped her lips lightly.
Grandmother stayed home and hid her money
under the placemats. But you, you sat with
tiny hands folded across your tummy
in the front seat, middle, belting it out
comically loud, striking a modish pose,
eyebrow up like some starlet, keeping time
with the thumping windshield-wipers. On those
Sunday drives, the tiny Chevy bobbed
along that lavender river valley
like a wind-up toy. Out of its windows
came the oddest, sweetest cacophony.
My wife was acting out a joke.
Upended by her slapstick wit,
I slipped into a laughing fit.
But later, that same night, I woke
in the dreamless dark with a pit
in my stomach again to old,
unwelcome thoughts: some year, some night,
would be our last. No other fright
takes hold so tightly, and no cold
shudder can shake its perfect bite.
It’s no help to reach consensus
at age eighty. Can’t you hear it?
Happiness is found in spirit
alone, in loved ones around us,
not things. But that’s why we fear it,
death. So bless us, Lord, and your gift,
which we are about to receive.
Nothing to do except believe
that in her sleepy style she’ll drift
awake. We’re lucky till we leave.
Five Credible Conclusions
Socrates, Sunday Drive, The Present, Obituary, Five
Credible Conclusions copyright © 2007 by Ryan Sawyer
All rights reserved
Ryan Sawyer is a poet and a
Financial Advisor, CFM, with the Merrill Lynch Private Client Group in
Editor's note: These poems, in different form, have appeared on EP&M Online before. These marvelously improved versions more than merit second publication. Thanks to Ryan for sending them to me.>