Letting Go


When my son was small
We were walking through a great crowd,
In my dream,
And I felt his little fingers slip
From my hand
And he was swallowed up by the world.

Sometimes, I still take his hand
To make that connection
Between boy and man,
To know he is still safe
In this dangerous place.

But he is so much older now
And feels awkward,
Embarrassed by the act,
And because I understand
The boy is not the man,
I let go.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Interstice


Somewhere between euphoria and despair
My overweight cat,
Jumping up to my chair,
Claws anchored against gravity,
Up and then on my lap,
Pushing his head against my arm
To renew and strengthen fraternal bond,
Nudged aside to a padded armrest,
My overweight cat
Sits,
Composes himself,
Luxuriates in this place he has made
For both of us,
Somewhere between euphoria and despair.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Mother's Prayer


God,
Oh yes that troublesome word,
She has trouble with that word,
Visions of blind obeisance,
A fairy tale euphoria,
Ignorance,
Superstition,
A certain lack of precise intellectual focus,
Oh yes she has trouble with that word.

Yet in her most private, personal moments
Something like a prayer emerges,
If only as the last obligation
Of a mother whose children have left home,
Her children,
Out there somewhere.

And so she prays,
Trying as we all try
To bend the course of destiny
To our will.

Atheist that she is,
She will not abandon her children
To a godless world.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I See Them


There was a rabbit
Loose in the grove.
She taught me how to enter
The silence of its fear
So it would know
My innocence.

There was an old clock
Whose tic and toc
Was heard by those
Who could only imagine me.
She taught me how to travel
Through the sound
Into their hearts.

In spring her orchard was full
Of birds and butterflies.
She pressed her warm fingers
Over my eyes and said:
See from where
All pretty things come.

Her old Siamese
Loved his pie-pan milk
Steaming on the back porch.
One winter he was gone.
I remembered how still he sat
With folded paws
And cloud-blue eyes.

Looking into heaven
He finally found his way,
She whispered,
Close your eyes
And see him.

I see them.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Second Cup?


If I awoke some morning and you were dead . . .

Pardon my indelicacy my darling,
I will begin again.

If I awakened early one morning,
Tiptoeing out of the bedroom
So as not to disturb,
Knowing how you like to sleep late,
Being retired and elderly,
Like me,
Having no need for early morning hours . . .

If I put on my slippers,
Padding quietly down the hall,
Into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee . . .

If I did these things and settled into my favorite chair,
Sipping the sugary sweet yet bitter hot coffee,
Easing into an awakening that only fully comes
After a second cup . . .

If I had finished my first cup
And still heard no stirring from bed or bath . . .

If I returned to our bedroom and found you undisturbed,
If I placed my hand on your shoulder and called your name,
If you did not respond to my vigorous shaking,
If you were without breath,
If you had slipped silently away sometime during the night . . .

If I contemplated all that now lay before me,
The myriad heartsick obligations . . .

Before it all began,
Before it was all set in motion,
Before engaging with the somber day’s duties,
Would I make a second cup of coffee?
Would you?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Am Dog


I’ll always be a dog,
God alone knows why,
Not cat, not horse, not snail,
I’ll never open mail,
Though I sometimes try.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

How Hard It Is


How hard it is
To repair the damage
Of an unlucky childhood,
To break the mold,
To reinvent the life
When all the anger
Still echoes.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Birthday Cards


In the supermarket,
Looking through the greeting cards
While I wait for my wife to finish shopping,
I am touched by the sincerity
Of the birthday card messages,
Filled with words of encouragement,
Words of compassion,
Words of love.

I rarely receive one of these heartfelt cards,
Perhaps because the people in my life are too intelligent
To rely on birthday card verse and sentiment,
Too wary of birthday card clich├ęs.

Or perhaps my advanced age has at last
Stripped away all illusions,
All my once larger-than-life personas,
Leaving me an ordinary man after all,
An ordinary old man who no longer warrants
Such extravagant birthday card praise,
If I ever did.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Home Sings


Home sings
In the rattle, clang and clamor
Of kitchen song,
In the cat claw scratching
On the back porch door,
In the vacuum drone humming,
In the going,
In the coming,
In the laughter, shout and hurry,
In the fuss,
In the fury of everyday life,
Home sings
With irregular rhythms of slamming doors,
The sizzle of water in sudden streams
From faucets, showers and various machines,
Home sings
With assorted shoes on linoleum floors
Tapping out a dance of a thousand chores,
A pan in the oven bangs with the heat,
Home sings,
Phones ring,
Doors knock,
A key in the lock,
You give me a hug
And the music begins:
The refrigerator is whirring,
The cats are all purring,
Our children are playing
And my heart is saying
Listen closely
To the song life brings,
We are safe,
We are happy,
Home sings.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Hero


I do not want my son to be a hero,
Whose name will be read among the honored dead,
Who will be forever young in the picture that is hung
On his empty bedroom wall,
O dear God don’t let him fall
In battle and attack,
Please bring him safely back.

I do not want my son to be a hero.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved