The Folks Next Door


Tic Tock

Tic Tock

Tic Tock

Memory’s clock,

In a house too still

Standing in the Autumn chill.

You weren’t there today

Or yesterday

And the day before that

With your four point cane and Yankee’s cap.

I sit at my kitchen table

And think of you.

Through, the wavy old glass

Of the window pane.

Wondering what pain

Takes you on the adventure day

Away, down the drive

To the mail box hour.

The open door

With  decals galore:

‘Jesus Saves’,

‘Love it or Leave it’,

And a Flanders red

For the dead

Faded and pale

Wrapped in twisted spiral around

The heavy metal knocker.

You were a warrior,

So they say.

Back to the British

Long ago, far away.

Your great grand fathers before

Went to war.

As did you in Korea

While she waited among the flowered seasons

Peonies, Poppies and Spirea.

Your son in Nam,

Grandson in Iraq.

Sacrificed for country—

Ratta tat tat.

Ratta, tat, tat.

Everyday you grab the rail,

Make your way

Down the ramp

Your belt drawn tight and its flap

hang down as your cap.

You never look beyond the goal

Never smile or say “Hello.”

Busybodies say you’ve come mean,

But then, they’ve not seen

Her empty waiting behind the door

And your brief freedom takes its toll.

She waits and waits in that old chair,

With a stare

For the ghost cardinals

That sometimes appear

On the bird feeder, no longer there.

There is a picture of her

On the desk,

Cart wheeling

In short skirt dress,

Lovely breasts,

Long legs,

And jeweled comb  hair.

Her art is everywhere,

Afgans, paintings, ornaments and quilt.

Mobiles made of sea shells from sandy silt.

And driftwood from

The northern coast

Where you two would Summer host.

Back up the ramp

And inside

To the still of the Tic Toc clock.

You’ve not

Become mean.

Probably sad

You old dad

With your empty bride.

And don’t you shed

A private tear,

Now and then,

Waiting for when

Love breaths in and out again.

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3 Responses to The Folks Next Door

  1. robin andrea says:

    This is truly, breathtakingly beautiful. Thank you for telling this story. Tic Tock the hands move around the clock…

  2. Tara says:

    Such a sense of place and the old fella next door. So initiate, I feel I know him, just a bit. Lovely and sad.

  3. saramajors says:

    Lovely, touching, and fits someone we all know in some town….. Everywhere

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