This National Poetry Writing Month isn’t exactly as productive as the previous few years have been. Obviously, it’s too late to begin a new meaningful poem every day for the full thirty days of April, so I’ll do one for today, and see how things progress. Small steps.

I walked past an elderly couple this week, and overhead the best part of a partial conversation. He started it:

“Remember when everything was so much better than now?”

“I do indeed,” she said. “Everything was, wasn’t it?”

“It was fun then.”

They walked, or waddled for a few steps, then she responded.

“And fun,” she said.

I tried to work my way around them, in a rush as usual, but after hearing their initial talk, I dropped back to catch as much of the conversation as possible. Nothing more was said.

She grabbed his hand and the two of them waddled down the aisle between milk and cheese. For the rest of the time, they talked brands and bargains and coupons, which one of them was supposed to bring, but forgot.

In a few brief seconds of life, I was exposed to the the sweetness and tragedy of a long life together. I’m always amazing and grateful at what I’m given in the form of ideas from other people’s intimate lives.

In the free-verse poem below, it’s not always clear who is speaking. I’m convinced it doesn’t matter.

.   –   .   –   .   –   .



Back when Love’s Law was glued to physics?

Remember that night when it wasn’t?

Back when I said I love you and it stuck? Remember?

.   .   .

You mean back when Love’s Law was glued to physics? Way back then?

Yes, back when some things mattered.

Back then we said I love you and it stuck?

That day didn’t the rain fall part way down?

.   .   .

Yes, then it went back up.


I said it was back when some things mattered.

Was that when the cat chased the dog off the porch?

.   .   .

And the dog ran away? Yes.

When the rain fell only part way down?

Yes, then it went back up, a demonstration of upside-down physics.

I remember. It was when the old mailbox became an oblate spheroid for a brief time.

.   .   .

Was that the time when cats chased dogs and they meowed and ran away?

Yes, and the mailman couldn’t find the door.

Well, that was because the mailbox had become an oblate spheroid.

Yes, I remember. It practically had no door.

.   .   .

Remember all of those love letters he handed off?


Yes. I don’t want to but I do.

He handed off a bundle of love letters from someone, didn’t he?

.   .   .

For me or someone else? Well?

All I know is it was back when we said I love you and I thought it stuck.

I’m sorry, it just slipped out of me.

How could everything have felt so right for so long?

.   .   .

How could one become content with a mailbox-shaped mailbox.

Year after year.

Love after old love.

After having your mail delivered to an oblate spheroid?

.   .   .

Did you ever read any of those letters?

Only all of them, over and over. Only all.

The mailman was impressed, as I recall.

Didn’t he ask for copies?

.   .   .

I don’t remember. Do you?

Remember what?

Upwards-falling rain and oblate spheroids.

Yes. Eat your soup.

.   .   .

Or drink it.

Or toss it in the yard for ducks.

Just do something with it.

It’s getting too late to be out on a night like this.

.   .   .

Remember when it wasn’t?

Wasn’t what? Stop slurping.

When it wasn’t too late to be out on a night like this.

Back then it felt less late late than it does? Yes.

.   .   .

Well, maybe I do too sometimes.

Do you still love me like broken physics?

Like Love’s Laws? You’re stuck with me.

I guess that’s enough for now.

.   .   .

How about a little desert?

By desert, do you mean — ?

Precisely. Key lime pie.

You remembered!

.   .   .

I remembered.

My favorite.

Your favorite.

Stuck deep in your heart like Love’s Laws.

.   .   .

I feel like the sun could rise in the west this time.

Want to watch and see? And hope?

But what if it doesn’t?

What then?

.   .   .

Let’s remember as if it does.

Does what?


Just eat your pie.

.   .   .

It’s your favorite.

It’s my favorite?

Made with love.

Remember? Remember?

–  .   –   .   –   .   –