New York City skyline at night




Carol Schoen

Near a Buddhist Temple, Japan

No arms, no legs, no mouths,
flat, crudely cut
dolls, stark white, crowd
together by the road;
black lines for eyes
all the same. Stray buttercups
dot the lawn.

Women, secretly bereft,
seek angels to dust the land
with song, to guide
their water children on the dark
journey, whisper
words of comfort
to those who will
never live.



To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune;
to lose both is carelessness — Oscar Wilde

I know I left them here
not so long ago:
Dad in his big chair,
Plainfield Currier News
crumbling on his lap,
eyeglasses falling off his nose,
mouth open, eyes shut,
lightly snoring.

Mom's on the couch —
back hurts again—
lips pursed tight,
glassy blue eyes stare
off into some magic world
only she knows and will
not share.

No, I'm wrong;
I left Dad
in the bedroom, robe
barely covers stained
pajamas, baseball game
soundless on TV.
No need to talk, he hasn't
heard a thing in years.
Isn't that where I'll find him?

And, Mom. she's in that apartment
on Central Avenue
sitting at the table, unread paper
spread out, radio talk
her only companion. She marches
across the street once a day
to examine the apples.

I want to see them, but I've lost
the bedroom and the apartment
seems to have disappeared.



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