David Whalen

(5/18/38 / Covington Kentucky)

Driveways End



No matter that the mailman stops or not.
I still put on my heavy jacket,
Tug on my boots and woolen gloves.
Give an unspoken invitation
To my ol’ shaggy shepherd,
Who arthritically arises, stretches, yawns
Pads to the door and patiently waits,
Tongue lolling.
It’s a good long walk
From the porch to the mailbox.
I can see from here the flags not raised,
But it doesn’t lower my hopes
Ol’ dog plows through the snow
Snortin’ and sneezin’
And peeing on anything vertical.
With a deep breath of crisp, frosty air
Cautiously taking one step at a time
Handrail held tight as a lover’s arm
Both feet on the each step before
Trying the next.
Then the slow measured trek
To the end of the driveway.
A long moment of hesitation
With hand outstretched
Knowing full well the feeling
Of foolish anticipation.
A timid tug on the mailbox door
Then a tentative peek inside.
Tho’ obviously empty, I look once again
And grope for an envelope
That I know is not there.
A deep sigh…from deep snow
And deeper disappointment.
I close the mailbox door
And pat the top gently,
As if forgiving it for being empty.
I always give feelings and emotions
To all things about me. Always have,
Always will.
Shrug off a chill. Hear the snow squeak
‘Neath my boots.
Turn and start back to the house.
Ol’ dog pulls his nose from a snowdrift,
Shakes off a snout full of powder,
Runs to me and nuzzles me back to the house.
Why is it that the return trip is always shorter
Than the trip to a place?
And before I know it, I’m back on the porch
Brushing snow off of ol’ dog.
A long last look at the end of the driveway.
At the patient mailbox waiting for tomorrow
Then it’s back inside in the warmth once again.
Ol’ dog in his bed licking ice off his paws.
Me lookin’ out of the window, knowing full well
That we’ll do this again tomorrow
And that tomorrow the mailbox
Will be empty again and tomorrow
Will also be as lonely and empty
…again…
They say that hope springs eternal
and love never dies.
I look out at the mailbox
with a tear in my eye
They say that time heals everything.
I think they lie
(but I'll give the benefit of doubt)



Submitted: Saturday, March 01, 2014
Edited: Wednesday, March 05, 2014

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