The wood is worn and weathered

 

The shovelÕs shaft is split just above the

blade but IÕve wrapped it well with strong black tape

and use it now for lighter work. You used it new

and polished to dig the bed for your prize roses,

envy of our neighborhood. I used it to dig the foxhole

under our crabapple tree, protection from enemy soldiers.

 

But now the wood is worn and weathered, with trace

of rust along the blade that mimics the grey

on my own brow, rite of passage stolen from you.

IÕve never been as good with roses, but I still use

this shovel for other tasks—it feels just right

when my hands grip where yours once did,

 

hands that once held and steadied me but no longer do.

 

 

Beneath the old crabapple tree

weÕd play all day –

invent new worlds,

wage epic battles.

One day I left

my toy soldiers

below and climbed

to the topmost

branch, my head

emerging above

the highest leaf –

white knuckled,

knees chafing,

legs quaking.

 

A different wind

blows that high up,

where branches

sway and bend

and almost break.

 

 

When the locusts bloom

 

and the world

hangs heavy

with their scent,

I walk among

their slender forms

and breathe

the air of a distant

place, removed

from all I know.

 

I turn to go

as a gentle breeze

sends a soft

snow of white

petals to rest

upon my head

and shoulders.

 

 

 

At Our Favorite Restaurant

Flush with wine,

spices linger on the tongue.

The earth-smell of strong coffee

from the table behind mingles

with pungent salt air.

We breathe deeply.

 

Warm orange torchlight caresses

freshly tanned faces

that lean in as the waitress

says, ÒCloser.Ó Packed in tighter,

laughing, we raise our glasses.

The camera clicks.

 

The tables around us grow

empty as the bottles on our own,

yet we linger,

held in the firm grip

of what is felt

but too sacred to be spoken.

 

Next year weÕll return

perhaps to find

the same waitress

to take the same photo

at the same table. And weÕll smile

as we remember.

 

© Edward J. DeSilva

 

Bio: Edward J. DeSilva loves to write poetry and creative nonfiction that reflects his faith, cultural heritage, and other passions in life. A father of three adult children, Edward is also blessed with one granddaughter, Noemi, and a dog named Daisy—all of whom he adores. Edward currently lives in central New Jersey with Rosemary, his wife of 35 wonderful years.