Robert Rorabeck

Bronze Star - 2,791 Points (04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

Smoke & Mirrors - Poem by Robert Rorabeck

Cedar smoke waifs from the chimney’s throat;
My father has stacked the wood in between phone
Calls; he’s try to make a deal,
As my mother reads him the last book by Louie L’Amor,

The grounds are frozen for the first time this year
On the back of the buffalo where we homestead in Arizona,
And I go outside to do the chores; I think a dozen
Times how to start the phrases of my poem;
But I have to do it, my only intercourse....
Ice shoots every which way like gypsum, like
Broken fingers at the bottom of empty water tanks.

I lift up the red hinge, opening the floodgate, and
I watch them as they float, break off and mingle
Like socializing icebergs, bragging about the Titanic,
When it has been so long since I’ve waited in line
For a table at TGI Friday’s or Applebee’s or any other
Of the yuppie chains that populate the interstates of
South Florida,

So far removed from the gambits of ex-lovers, now ex-partes,
Sniveling for judges; they go to eat in warm little nooks everyday,
Gossip over the reheated food, tip and pray;
They do this with the disposable gestures of their routine;
I think upon them as the lowest aspens sway
By the earliest whispers of the mountain.
The cold air makes my scars disappear for awhile;
New scars, not the old ones which made her lose interest.
Those are almost gone. This one I got last year
Because I got too drunk selling fireworks off route 66.
Now I lay down dryads in the books I write;
I leave my chores undone, and lay with my allegories,
They tell me things I like to hear,

Like a chorus of little girls who, conducted by the
Northerly winds, sing from each trunk in the forest,
As the harts gambol over the fallen leaves.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, October 13, 2008

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