Robert Rorabeck

Bronze Star - 2,238 Points (04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

Disastrous Eyes - Poem by Robert Rorabeck

I left her in the store where she belonged,
And as I drove away I knew she was helping another
Man just as intently as she had done for me,
With those disastrous eyes, in the casual way a housewife might
Let a stranger into her house for a cup of sugar,
And I knew she had done good for me, for her day was
Long and filled with bearded patrons going in and out:
Some whom she knew and called them by name,
And others like me whom she had never seen before,
Or maybe only once,
As her hours were filled up humbly with restocking shelves
Of tacks and screws and duck tape and all of America’s wants
Under the halogen lights of the small town hardware store,
So that she was most likely related to the owner, or worked
There part time, and lived with her husband in the corrugated
Trailer parks where the rattlesnakes slept too in the nooks
Of cinder blocks, but drove a nice car. I will never see her again,
And that is perfect, because I knew as I drove away with
My receipt for sledge hammers and drills stuffed into my blue jeans,
That her effort would soon be going into our revivals of fireworks
There across the New Mexico state line, and she would
Become a part of the history that is altogether forgotten in the
Dusty commerce;

Already I was meeting new people eager to get away,
Bearded men in orange coveralls standing beside a warning
Sign which told me not to stop, for convicts were working here,
But when they looked me in the eyes, those disastrous eyes,
I knew they had to get away,
And I took them all together up the unwhiskered throat of my mountain
While the sheriff’s back was turned, and asked them nicely
To get out into the wilderness, and left them there without
A survival guide, though I already knew at least some would survive.


Comments about Disastrous Eyes by Robert Rorabeck

  • (6/11/2008 4:01:00 PM)


    I really like how you took simple things and simple experiences and gave them stories. This shows a rare talent and a rare awareness. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Poem Edited: Thursday, June 12, 2008


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